CDC: 94% of COVID-19 deaths had contributing health conditions

Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 at 6:06 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With coronavirus cases trending downward in both Alabama and Georgia, officials continue to analyze the data and look for new information.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states only six percent of people who died from COVID-19 did not have any other listed cause of death.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said just about every coronavirus death he’s worked involved underlying conditions. However, Columbus doctor Glenn Fussell analyzes the numbers and said in Georgia, 14 percent of deaths listed have unknown checked next to pre-existing conditions.

On a death certificate, officials can list up to four causes of death, plus any additional factors that did not contribute to the person passing away.

According to he CDC’s report, six percent of COVID-19 deaths did not have any additional factors, meaning 94 perent of those people had comorbidities or contributing conditions.

“Congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, any kind of lung disease, obesity, if you’re morbidly obese, they have a hard time surviving,” Harris said.

Harris said it sounds about right that 94 percent of COVID-19 deaths have additional factors. He said he’s only seen a handful of people who died without another major contributing condition.

“80 to 90 cases I’ve seen here that has come across my desk, all but a handful would have an underlying condition that would make it harder for them to survive,” Harris said.

Fussell looks at the numbers from both the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health on a regular basis.

“It’s a dangerous illness, but you have to put it into perspective,” Fussell said.

Crunching the numbers, Fussell said things don’t quite add up. In Georgia, he said many of the deaths have unknown written beside underlying conditions.

Fussel said in Muscogee County, “We had 67 percent had a co-morbidity instead of 94 percent and 11 percent were unknown.”

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