Understanding COVID-19 death reports from the CDC

Understanding COVID-19 death reports from CDC

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - New data released from the CDC on the Coronavirus has many people confused on how many people have died because of COVID-19.

This data breaks down the people who have died from the disease into two groups: Those who died of COVID-19 and those with additional illnesses are reported. Healthcare professionals say the claim that only six percent of people dying from COVID-19 alone is misleading.

“Having addition causes of death other than COVID could be due to just consequences of COVID and not from a previously unhealthy individual with preexisting conditions," said Dr. Bryan Stroud, physician at United Regional.

An illness like sepsis is listed by the CDC as a comorbidity in COVID-19 deaths.

“And to me that’s just COVID, that’s just a very serious infection of COVID but the report lists that as two separate causes of death when in fact it’s really just one," said Dr. Stroud.

That, plus other things that COVID-19 could cause, being grouped together with underlying health issues can make it look like less people have died solely from the virus.

“That could of been a healthy 35-year-old male that had four things listed and then he gets put in the group of 94 percents," said Dr. Stroud.

Dr. Stroud says there is not a uniform way to report these deaths and that physicians can have different ways of declaring the cause of death.

“They believe that putting just COVID would be sufficient, where as another physician would say the patient had COVID and then had these complications so all of these need to be listed as cause of death," said Dr. Stroud.

Wichita County Health Department Director Lou Kreidler told us how deaths are reported in the county.

“We’re simply saying at the time this person was positive for COVID-19 so it is a COVID related death," said Kreidler.

“For someone that does not know how deaths are reported on the death certificate and how comorbid conditions relate to disease processes, this could be difficult to understand and could be easily misinterpreted," said Dr. Stroud.

What this data does not show is how many people with underlying health issues died from the virus versus those who were healthy before contracting COVID-19.

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