One of the jokes about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that the CDC stands for “can’t decide confused.” It does seem as if the agency has often flipped on its decisions during the covid-19 pandemic, such as not initially recommending masks and releasing confusing changes on quarantine rules. So are the latest comments that 75 percent of covid-19 deaths had at least four comorbidities, a new spin by the government and CDC?
Medical comorbidity, usually defined as a pre-existing medical condition, is the presence of one or more additional conditions often co-occurring with a primary condition.
On Jan. 7, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said on ABC’s Good Morning America that 75 percent of vaccinated people who died of covid-19 had at least four comorbidities, The Gazette reported.
The CDC lists some of the possible conditions that place people at higher risk of severe illness from covid-19. These include cancer; chronic kidney, liver and lung diseases; dementia or other neurological conditions, diabetes, heart conditions, HIV, weakend immune system, mental health conditions, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking and substance use disorders.
“The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities,” Walenksy said, referring to a study that examined data from U.S. healthcare facilities of more than 12 million adults who completed “primary vaccination” between December 2020 to October 2021. Among the small percentage of those who died (36 people), 78 percent suffered from at least four comorbidities. The study was conducted by the Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center; Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Walensky’s remarks were met with backlash on Twitter accusing her of CDC spin.
“It is ‘encouraging’ to (Walensky) that chronically ill and disabled Americans are dying … our deaths clearly don’t count,” tweeted Matthew Cortland, a lawyer who said he suffers from a chronic illness.
Others on Twitter, however, stressed that Walensky’s remarks were edited on the TV show, thus leading to a misrepresentation of what she actually meant.
“If you’ve seen folks online declaring the CDC Director ‘revealed’ that 75% of all COVID deaths were people with at least four comorbidities, please know that is not the case. Dr. Walensky’s response to a question about a study of *vaccinated people* was shortened for TV time, ” tweeted Taylor Popielarz (@TaylorPopielarz). Popielarz is a journalist for ABC News, among others. His tweet included a transcript of Walensky’s full comments during the Good Morning America interview. In the full comments, she stressed that she was merely commented on the statistics about comorbidities were from a study.
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