Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.
Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- Joe Biden’s campaign said he referred incorrectly to “military” when he meant to say “Michigan” in discussing the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths.
During a speech in Warren, Mich., Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic by reminding listeners of the death toll from the virus.
"U.S. troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan: 53,188," Biden said. "U.S. COVID infected in America: 6,344,700. U.S. COVID deaths: 189,506. Military COVID infected: 118,984. Military COVID deaths: 6,114. Folks, every one of these lives matter. Every one of these lives left somebody behind grieving."
However, the Defense Department has publicly announced that through early September, seven servicemembers have died from the coronavirus and nearly 38,500 had been infected — numbers far below what Biden cited. There have also been 50 civilian deaths, seven deaths of dependents and 20 contractor deaths due to the virus, Military Times reported.
When we checked with Biden’s campaign team, they said he got the numbers wrong. The campaign said Biden said "military" when he meant to say "Michigan."
The numbers Biden cited roughly align with Michigan’s coronavirus totals. According to the COVID Tracking Project, the number of deaths in Michigan through Sept. 8 was 6,811, and the number of cases was 119,863. Total cases and deaths can vary depending on the source and the time of day the data is drawn.
We rate Biden’s statement False.
Joe Biden, remarks in Warren, Mich., Sept. 9, 2020
COVID Tracking Project, data, accessed Sept. 10, 2020
Military Times, "7th US service member has died from COVID-19," Sept. 3, 2020
CNN, "Biden way overstates the number of military deaths and cases from Covid," Sept. 9, 2020
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.