Coronavirus deaths are just that – deaths caused by Covid-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.
President Trump has retweeted social media conspiracy theories saying that only a small percentage of the people reported to have died from coronavirus really did die from the virus. They have pointed to death certificates that list other underlying causes.
But that doesn’t mean the patients did not die from coronavirus, Bob Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at CDC, said in a statement.
“In 94% of deaths with Covid-19, other conditions are listed in addition to Covid-19. These causes may include chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension,” Anderson said in the statement, provided to CNN by the CDC. “In 6% of the death certificates that list Covid-19, only one cause or condition is listed."
“The underlying cause of death is the condition that began the chain of events that ultimately led to the person’s death. In 92% of all deaths that mention Covid-19, Covid-19 is listed as the underlying cause of death," the statement added.
Some context: Other top health officials, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that CDC mortality statistics are accurate, and have explained that just because a death certificate lists other conditions, it doesn’t mean one of those conditions caused a death.
What the other conditions do tell doctors, Anderson said, is that people who have chronic conditions are more likely to suffer severe disease and to die from coronavirus.
Death certificates may also include acute conditions caused by the viral infection, such as pneumonia or respiratory failure.
By the numbers: According to Johns Hopkins University, which uses independent data for its reporting on coronavirus cases and deaths, there have been more than 6 million coronavirus cases in the US and more than 184,000 people have died from it as of late Wednesday afternoon.
CDC data shows that as of Aug. 22, 161,392 death certificates listed coronavirus as a cause of death. CDC data often lags behind Johns Hopkins data.