Over the final weeks of his campaign, as the United States suffers a third major wave of coronavirus cases, President Donald Trump has begun casually accusing doctors and hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients of deliberately inflating the death toll to make more money. His baseless conspiracy theory appears to originate with one of his favorite Fox News shows.
But since the early days of the pandemic, Trumpist media figures, including those on Fox, have tried to minimize the impact of the virus and the scale of the president’s failure by arguing the recorded death count is actually overstated. They claim that the number of deaths has been significantly inflated due to the inclusion of people who died after testing positive for the disease but also had underlying conditions.
Trump has seized on a particularly sinister variant of that conspiracy theory -- that doctors and hospitals are deliberately fudging the numbers in order to make more money off the dead. The fever-swamp talking point appears to have originated on Fox.