COVID death rate confusion
By Karen S. Carter
Last week the CDC released a data report that was misconstrued because a part of the data was taken out of context and made it seem that only 6% of the deaths were the only deaths from COVID-19. After going back to the original report, that impression of the data has been determined as being false.
"They [the CDC] put out a release and a certain part of that release was taken up on Twitter and not really understood," said Pacific County Health Department COVID Response Program Manager Stephanie Michael. "That created a lot of issues."
In the data 6% of the deaths were listed as COVID-19 being the single cause of death. The other 94% of the deaths had COVID-19 and an underlying factor listed on the death certificate.
"For example they might have died of respiratory arrest, but they were COVID positive and the COVID is what caused the death," said Michael. "They may have had COPD or diabetes as the underlying condition, but the addition of COVID is what precipitated their death."
"So of course if someone is COVID positive and died of a completely unrelated issue like a traffic accident or committed suicide, that death is not part of the COVID data," continued Michael. "Those deaths are not attributed to the death count for COVID."
In Washington each suspected COVID death is under review. After going through the county level, the death report is sent to the state level to be confirmed before it is added to the COVID-19 death count.
To see the most recent CDC COVID-19 Mortality Data go to https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm#Comorbidities.