Has COVID-19 killed more cops than all other causes?
At the Republican National Convention, President Donald Trump cast himself as a stalwart friend of police and an effective leader in the fight against COVID-19.
In a speech in Pittsburgh, Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Trump was neither.
"Do you feel safer under Donald Trump?" Biden asked Aug. 31. "More cops have died from COVID this year than have been killed on patrol."
That stat raised eyebrows, and we checked to see if it was true. Biden didn’t say exactly what the best data show, but the comparison is largely accurate.
Tallies of deaths by two national groups show that COVID-19 has killed more law enforcement officers than gunfire and other hazards of the job in 2020. The caveat to Biden’s claim is there is some statistical fuzziness regarding who is a cop and what it means to be on patrol.
Roughly one-third of these tallies include corrections and detention center officers who work inside institutions where the virus can spread more readily. Some Customs and Border Protection field officers and other first responders are also included. While these occupations are counted as part of law enforcement, they might not come to mind as the cops that Biden referred to.
The COVID-19 death toll is still the greatest single cause of death when those occupations are excluded.