Trust Index: CDC did NOT backpedal on death count related to COVID-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4Jax Trust Index team is looking into a post that has been circulating on social media, claiming the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly updated its COVID-19 death numbers to admit that only 6% of people in the United States whose deaths were attributed to COVID-19 actually died from the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The post, which received thousands of shares online, was originally tweeted by someone named Mel Q and then retweeted by President Donald Trump. The tweet was later taken down by Twitter for violating platform rules.

News4Jax wanted to know the truth about the CDC’s latest weekly report. Did the CDC backpedal on the number of deaths caused by COVID-19, reducing the figure from nearly 154,000 deaths to just over 9,000 as the social media post claims? The Trust Index team looked into the claim and found it is not true.

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

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The post came after the CDC released an updated report that states for 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned, and the other 94% died from COVID-19 and contributing conditions.

The CDC data table is based on an analysis of death certificates that mention COVID-19 as a cause.

News4Jax asked Dr. Elizabeth Ransom with Baptist Health for insight and perspective.

″Statistics can always be a little confusing sometimes. But the important number there is that 94% of people who died with COVID had some underlying conditions — in fact, on average, about 2.6 other conditions, such as heart failure, diabetes heart disease and so on,” Ransom said.

Ransom said the latest CDC data only confirms what medical officials have been saying since the outset of the pandemic: The virus tends to have a more severe impact on people with underlying conditions.

Ransom told News4Jax underlying conditions can also be ailments that the victim suffered as the result of contracting COVID-19, saying COVID-19 remains the primary reason why the patients died.

″I think the really important take away from this is that as we have suspected as we’ve seen this disease evolve, is that those that have other chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk. That being said, it doesn’t mean someone who is young and healthy without other chronic health conditions can’t be severely affected, either. We need to continue to take this very seriously,” Ransom said.

Again, the Trust Index team rates the claim that the CDC updated its records to show that only 6% of U.S. deaths tied to COVID-19 were legitimate as simply not true. According to doctors, if the victims didn’t contract the COVID-19 virus, they would likely be alive today.

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