CDC denies reducing death count related to COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not “backpedal” on the number of deaths caused by COVID-19, reducing the figure from nearly 154,000 to just more than 9,000, as some social media posts have claimed.

The term “Only 6%” trended widely on Twitter over the weekend as supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory promoted tweets that falsely suggested the CDC had updated its records to show that only 6% of U.S. deaths tied to COVID-19 were legitimate. President Donald Trump was among those who tweeted the information, which was later taken down by Twitter for violating platform rules.

The posts, which received hundreds of thousands of shares online, were based on a regularly updated CDC data table showing underlying conditions for those who died of COVID-19. The conditions included high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, as well as problems that are caused by COVID-19 itself, such as respiratory failure and pneumonia.

The CDC data table is based on an analysis of death certificates that mention COVID-19 as a cause. For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned, the CDC notes.

The other 94% list COVID-19 and other conditions together. Among those deaths, there were, on average, 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death, the public health agency said.

As of Aug. 26, the CDC said, there were 161,332 deaths where COVID-19 was listed on the death certificate. Social media users over the weekend posted an older screenshot of the data that showed 153,504 deaths. The posts used the 6% figure to claim the U.S. death toll was much lower—9,210.

“CDC just backpedaled (quietly) and adjusted the U.S. COVID deaths from 153,504 to 9,210. Admitting that their numbers are so (expletive) that they are off by a whopping 94%,” said a post being shared on Facebook Monday.

But such claims misrepresent the data. A death isn’t excluded from the COVID-19 tally just because the person was obese or had diabetes or dementia. Someone with heart problems can still be killed by COVID-19, and the death certificate could mention both as contributing.

Experts say it’s not surprising that so few people who died from COVID-19 had no underlying conditions listed on their death certificates. It is rare for people not to have multiple medical issues at death.

“The underlying cause of death is the condition that began the chain of events that ultimately led to the person’s death,” Dr. Robert Anderson, who oversees the CDC’s death statistics work, said in a statement. “In 92% of all deaths that mention COVID-19, COVID-19 is listed as the underlying cause of death.”

Also, while death certificates are supposed to list any causes or conditions that contributed, past research has shown that the documents aren’t perfect. Doctors might not know—or specify—all the reasons behind a particular death.

More important, the CDC figures show what medical professionals have been saying since the outset of the pandemic—that the virus tends to have a more severe impact on people with underlying conditions.

For example, people died with diabetes not because of it, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-diseases expert at Vanderbilt University.

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6 thoughts on “CDC denies reducing death count related to COVID-19

  1. Anyone with a reasonably decent immune system knows the fear mongering surrounding Corona is BS. Quit sucking and live a better lifestyle or self-quarantine.

    1. This deaths from this virus is equal to a full 737 crashing into a mountain every day for two full years, and you call this fear mongering? Just because you may be a health freak nerd with no friends, family, or close contacts does not mean you can’t pass this virus on to somebody else and kill them. Show some empathy, and learn to be a good citizen (Which means don’t endanger your fellow citizens by your selfish acts).

  2. I completely understood the context when I read it initially. The point is only 6% +/- deaths are strictly COVID. The remainder are a combination of factors AND COVID. Point is that COVID only deaths are a small percentage of the deaths. We heard from the outset that the most susceptible were those with an underlying condition. That’s what these numbers underscore.

  3. Ha, yes this IBJ article is pretty much how I read the original release. I’m “glad” they have clarified the fear created by the MSM agenda!?
    Unfortunately, I’m sure this never made the news! This should have been the “bombshell” story all outlets always say they have. Pretty amazing that no one was dying of anything else? My math isn’t the greatest, but even 165,000 ÷ 330,000,000 people in our country = a VERY small percentage of our population. These people have tragically become a bogus statistic for the flu that has RAVAGED the world economy & stricken fear into the hearts & souls of people, by the MSM & politicos that still get paychecks for seeing how best they can control you!
    Please be sure you share this CDC info with your friends & colleagues, it is vital news.
    My soap box for today.

    1. The deaths from this virus is equal to a full 737 crashing into a mountain every day for two full years, and MSM is creating the fear?

      What percentage of your family do you want to die? Show some empathy, and learn to be a good citizen (Which means don’t endanger your fellow citizens by your selfish acts).

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