To health experts, it’s a disturbing trend that could lead to people not taking the government’s hygiene and social-distancing orders seriously, further exacerbating the coronavirus outbreak.

“By diminishing the fatality and the overall burden of mortality with Covid-19, what people are trying to do is diminish the gravity of the situation for whatever agenda,” said Dr. Felipe Lobelo, a former officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who worked on the agency’s response to the H1N1 virus. “That will lead to relaxing of public health measures, or lack of funding for contact tracing, which is critical or testing, or all the things that we need to do in order to keep the virus at bay.”

To skeptics, it’s an understandable response to a biased media.