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Did COVID-19 only cause 6% of coronavirus deaths? Viral posts misrepresent new CDC report

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CDC building sign(WHSV)
Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 5:26 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - You may have seen an interesting statistic on your Facebook feed recently.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that COVID-19 was the “only cause mentioned” on death certificates in 6% of deaths involving the virus, the CDC said last week.

Posts went viral on social media, touting that 6% number – alleging the number of deaths is much lower than what the media is currently reporting – because 94% of coronavirus-related deaths were caused by other underlying health conditions and not COVID-19.

What that CDC update really means is that 94% of the people who died from coronavirus had at least one other health condition, in addition to coronavirus, that could have contributed to their passing — not that the other underlying condition was the sole reason for it.

“Those saying ‘only 6% die from COVID-19 alone,’ or some derivation thereof, don’t understand how infectious diseases work. Many are not operating in good faith, & are the same people who have downplayed this pandemic since February,” Ryan McNamara, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, said on Twitter.

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