CDC refutes claims of 180,000 Covid-19 deaths in US being an exaggeration, Dr Fauci slams bogus QAnon post

The bogus post, which has been heavily promoted by followers of the QAnon conspiracy group, targeted the CDC, accusing them of quietly changing the number of deaths to about 9,210 on its website


                            CDC refutes claims of 180,000 Covid-19 deaths in US being an exaggeration, Dr Fauci slams bogus QAnon post
(Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clarified that Covid-19 deaths are not inflated and that the new coronavirus was responsible for killing people, even if they had other underlying health conditions. The health agency made the statement to address a baseless social media post that began doing the rounds in late August.

The bogus post targeted the CDC, accusing them of quietly changing the number of deaths to about 9,210 on its website, 6% of its initial tally. It also claimed that 94% of deaths were due to underlying health conditions. These posts, which were heavily promoted by followers of the QAnon conspiracy group, also found support from President Donald Trump, who retweeted the inaccurate claim to millions of his followers.

Proponents of the conspiracy theory misinterpreted data on CDC's website, which read:  "For 6% of the deaths, Covid-19 was the only cause mentioned." The remaining fatalities listed Covid-19, along with other health conditions. Of those, there were, on average, 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death, the health agency added. 

The CDC said that people had misinterpreted standard death certificate language, which also lists other underlying health conditions. But that doesn't mean the patients did not die from coronavirus, Bob Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the CDC, told CNN 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 clarified. "In 6% of the death certificates that list Covid-19, only one cause or condition is listed," the statement added. 

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According to CDC's statement to Reuters, death certificates --filled out by a physician, medical examiner, or coroner -- list any causes or conditions that contributed to the person’s death. The condition “that began the chain of events that ultimately led to the person’s death” is considered the “underlying cause of death."

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, explained that the 6% figure included cases where Covid-19 was listed as the only cause of death. “That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of Covid didn’t die of Covid-19. They did,” Fauci said on ABC’s “Good Morning America. “So the numbers you’ve been hearing — the 180,000-plus deaths — are real deaths from Covid-19. Let [there] not be any confusion about that,” Fauci said.

Twitter has taken down the conspiracy theory

The post, which has now been taken down by Twitter, said: “This week the CDC quietly updated the Covid number to admit that only 6% of all the 153,504 deaths recorded actually died from Covid. That’s 9,210 deaths. The other 94% had 2 to 3 other serious illnesses, and the overwhelming majority were of very advanced age.” One of the QAnon followers posted a screenshot of Trump retweeting her post.  

Defending Trump, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the President was highlighting new CDC information that came out that was worth noting. The data "showed that 96 - 94 percent, rather, of cases - of fatalities were not just Covid alone; there was another comorbidity or extenuating matter. So he was just pointing to those numbers," she added.

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