What the CDC Means By Describing COVID As the ‘Only Cause’ of 6 Percent of Patient Deaths

A retweet by President Trump last weekend set off a storm of misinformation about coronavirus deaths and takes advantage of confusion about the concept of “comorbidity” and how death certificates are filled out. 

Trump retweeted a post from a QAnon supporter that claimed, “This week the CDC quietly updated the Covid number to admit that only 6% of all the 153, 504 deaths actually died from Covid, that’s 9210 deaths. The other 94% had 2-3 other serious illnesses and the overwhelming majority were of very advanced age.”

Twitter eventually deleted the Tweet for violating its rules. But the message had already gone viral. Trump and his campaign legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, both retweeted a Gateway Pundit article on the same claim, and Grace Community Church pastor John McArthur declared, “There is no pandemic.”

So, what’s actually going on? First, the CDC’s website, as updated on August 26, does indeed say “For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned.” The text is an introduction to a table on comormidities, and explains that for the other deaths, there was an average of “2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”

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