FACT CHECK: Did Neil Gorsuch Say ‘Hundreds Of Thousands’ Of People Die From The Flu Every Year?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch said “hundreds of thousands” of people die from the flu every year.

Verdict: False

Gorsuch can be heard saying “hundreds, thousands” during the hearing instead of “hundreds of thousands” when discussing flu deaths.

Fact Check:

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Jan. 7 regarding President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements for private businesses, according to CNN. The proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule would require workers at businesses with 100 or more employees to either be tested for COVID-19 weekly or be fully vaccinated, the outlet reported.

When arguments concluded, social media users began claiming that Gorsuch said “hundreds of thousands” of people died from the flu. One Facebook post shared a screenshot of a tweet stating that Gorsuch was “hopelessly in an ignorant cult.”

However, Gorsuch did not seem to say that “hundreds of thousands” of people died from the flu. He can be heard saying “hundreds, thousands” instead of “hundreds of thousands,” according to audio from the arguments posted on the Supreme Court’s website. The comment can be heard roughly at the one-hour and 52-minute mark.

The claim may have originated from the Supreme Court’s official transcript originally quoting Gorsuch as saying “hundreds of thousands,” according to The Hill. The Supreme Court later corrected the transcript on page 121 to reflect that he actually said “hundreds, thousands” instead, the outlet reported.

The Supreme Court’s Public Information Office confirmed to Newsweek that there was an error in the original transcript. (RELATED: Would Reagan And Scalia Have Supported An Assault Weapons Ban?)

“We have vaccines against that — that, but the federal government through OSHA, so far as I know, and you can correct me, does not mandate every worker in the country to receive such a vaccine. We have flu vaccines. The flu kills, I believe, hundreds, thousands of people every year,” Gorsuch said, according to the amended official transcript.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 12,000 to 51,000 people died annually from the flu between 2010 and 2020.

Check Your Fact previously debunked a claim made by Justice Sonia Sotomayor during the same hearing, in which she erroneously stated 100,000 children were in hospitals or on ventilators as a result of COVID-19.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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