Trump Spreads Misleading Information About CDC Report

Ryan Brooks, Assistant News Editor

Facebook (CDC)
Facebook (CDC)

Recently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated its coronavirus mortality statistics to show that only 6 percent of all reported deaths were solely based on the coronavirus. 

But there is more to that number than meets the eye.

Following the updated report’s release, many conservative social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook began circulating, and then using it to justify their stance on COVID-19 being an overblown hoax.

President Donald Trump’s campaign adviser, Jenna Ellis, retweeted an article stating, “only 9,210 Americans died from COVID-19.”

Trump retweeted a similar article from the conspiracy theorist organization “QAnon.”

Twitter removed the latter tweet for violating its terms of service.

Their rationale is people that died from COVID-19 had pre-existing conditions, so those who contracted the disease would have died anyway from other underlying health problems.

Dr. William Shaffner, a disease expert at Vanderbilt University, spoke with The Washington Post about his stance on the topic. 

“If it hadn’t been for the COVID virus infection, these people would be living today. So yes, although they have contributing underlying chronic health factors, it’s still the COVID virus that killed them,” Shaffner said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News in an interview “the point that the CDC was trying to make was that a certain percentage of deaths had nothing else but just COVID. That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn’t die of COVID-19, they did.” 

Those on the right are also arguing that since the report says the coronavirus is especially deadly to those with preexisting conditions, then healthy people don’t have to worry about the virus.

According to Gallup, 43 percent of U.S. households reported having at least one member with preexisting health conditions, which is a sizable portion of the U.S population.

However, Dr. Irfan Halfiz, a disease specialist with Northwestern medicine, says the coronavirus can cause even perfectly healthy people to have new symptoms and conditions.

“We do see things like heart disease, diabetes and dementia seeing an abnormal increase in death, above historic norms based on the reporting from the death certificate,” Hafiz told Shaw Media. “We do know that all of those are chronic diseases. So if those people are suddenly dying within a short span of time, it’s not their disease that’s killing them. It’s making them prone to death because of another factor, in this case, probably COVID.”

University of North Carolina Professor Ryan McNamara condemned those who have used the CDC report for their own narrative. 

“Those saying only 6 percent die from COVID-19 alone, or some derivation thereof, don’t understand how infectious diseases work. Many are not operating in good faith, and are the same people who have downplayed this pandemic since February.”

Professor McNamara chose not to name those who’ve been downplaying the pandemic since its inception.

I will.

The pro-trump network of conspiracy theorists that regurgitate false information to their base of supporters are disgraceful and borderline criminals.

How many supporters of the president, who believe every word he spouts, died because they bought into the false information coming from surrogates of the president’s campaign?

So, to those who support the president, I urge you to listen to the scientists, to public health experts and follow the guidelines set out by your state governments.

I have no love for the president, that much is clear, but your life is more important than politics.