No, the US didn’t just pass 800,000 deaths “from” Covid-19
Mainstream media are continuing their two-year hyper-ventilation about alleged deaths “from” Covid-19 and failing in their fundamental obligation to explain complex issues to the public in an accurate way; the bottomline is that these deaths are reported by CDC as “deaths involving Covid-19,” and no causal linkage at all is required between the virus and the reported death
The Guardian’s headline on Dec. 14, 2021 blared: “‘A terrible tragedy’: US passes 800,000 Covid deaths — highest in the world.” The story begins: “The US death toll from Covid-19 has passed 800,000, a once-unimaginable figure seen as doubly tragic given that more than 200,000 of those lives were lost after vaccines became available last spring.”
All of the pundits and commentators who just a few years ago decried the era of “truthiness” remain silent about these kinds of stories— which aren’t even “truthy.”
They’re just blatantly wrong.
This almost 800,000 figure comes from the US CDC, which collects these statistics for the nation as a whole. CDC’s provisional mortality data is here and shows, in Table 1, as of Dec. 14, 2021, 795,839 “Deaths involving Covid-19.”
I’ve reproduced CDC’s Table 1 below.
What does “deaths involving Covid-19” mean? Well, CDC clearly defines this term in footnote 1 to Table 1 as follows: “ Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19, coded to ICD–10 code U07.1.”
Note that it says “with” not “from.”
There is no mention in this definition of Covid-19 causing the death reported. And if you dig into the CDC’s death certificate reporting guidelines (as I did in the essay linked) there is no requirement at all that Covid-19 needs to be causally responsible for the death at hand to be listed on the death certificate. It is enough for Covid-19 to be suspected to have caused or contributed to the death in any manner. And the guidelines strongly support listing Covid-19 on the death certificate if there is any association whatsoever.
In short, the CDC “deaths involving Covid-19” figure is night and day from any claimed causal linkage between Covid-19 and the reported death.
Night and day, oranges and apples, black and white. They are fundamentally two different claims about the harm from the virus.
Based on our analysis of the pandemic surveillance chain and the various definitions of “case,” “Covid hospitalization” and “Covid death,” we suggest that all of these public figures should be discounted by about 90% to get a more accurate notion of what is really going on.
US and global media are fundamentally failing in their duty to inform the public about complex issues and explain these figures. The CDC does not claim that these deaths are “from” Covid-19 and surely all of these writers mainstream media outlets know this basic fact about these statistics.
So at this point the mainstream media are intentionally distorting the truth, apparently out of a desire for eyeballs and associated ad revenue. Clickbait. “If it bleeds it leads.” And I’m extremely tired of it.
It is only if you — yes, you — start spreading these facts that the media and our elected and public officials will start to actually be honest with the data.