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Correcting Our Story About CDC Reporting, With Fact Check

UPDATE: HealthFeedback.org has issued a correction to this story. Look below for their fact check:

DETAILS


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Flawed reasoning: Because 94% of COVID-19 death certificates listed comorbidities, the author of the claim incorrectly reasons that only 6% of the deaths currently attributed to COVID-19 were actually caused by the disease. It is incorrect to assume that every patient who had COVID-19 in addition to other medical conditions died from the medical conditions and not from COVID-19. 
Misleading: Comorbidities are medical conditions that weaken the patient and may lower their chance of surviving COVID-19 but are not the underlying cause of death. The claim fails to consider that doctors assess the entire chain of clinical events leading to the death of a patient in order to determine the cause. For deaths to be attributed to COVID-19, the clinical events assessed must be compatible with known COVID-19 symptoms.

KEY TAKE AWAY

Cause of death is defined as a medical condition that triggers a chain of clinical events that leads to the death of a patient. In contrast, comorbidities are medical conditions, either pre-existing or resulting from the primary medical condition, that weaken a patient’s resistance to injuries or diseases and indirectly contribute to their death. Many patients who died from COVID-19 had comorbidities, suggesting that these conditions increased their likelihood of death from COVID-19. For these patients, COVID-19 remains their cause of death, as many would not have died from their comorbidities.

USA Today also added this fact check:

Our ruling: False

It is false and misleading to claim that only 6% of reported coronavirus deaths were the result of COVID-19. While comorbidities often exacerbate a person's illness from the coronavirus, it is incorrect to state that they are the cause of death rather than the viral infection. We rate this claim FALSE.

 

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