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CDC Insights | Watts Up With That?

by Jenneke van Ettinger

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The recent CDC update contains some interesting insights. The big news being discussed is the following statement:

Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death. 

I’m a data junkie. So I downloaded the data to see what I could find out. Here’s the biggest news I found:

Figure 1. Stacked area chart showing deaths by age group from February 1st to August 26th 2020. It is divided into: deaths not involving COVID-9 (light blue), deaths where COVID-19 is a “co-morbidity” with other diseases (dark blue), and deaths from COVID-19 alone (red)

The light blue area is all of the deaths that did not involve COVID.

The dark blue area at the bottom represents the deaths of people with one or more other diseases or conditions who had COVID as a co-morbidity. It goes from 0.2% of all deaths for infants, and steadily increases with age to stabilize at about 9% of all deaths for all ages over 65. Some of these diseases and conditions are the result of COVID, and some are unrelated to COVID.

Fun fact. A total of 4,758 of the deaths in the dark blue area are from “Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events” with COVID as a co-morbidity. So this includes e.g. the guy in Florida who died from a motorcycle accident and tested positive for COVID … clearly the category shown in dark blue includes both deaths with COVID as well as deaths from COVID.

The thin red area at the top, scarcely wider than a line?

That’s all of the deaths from COVID by itself. It’s tiny because most of the time, COVID either causes other diseases, as when someone presents with COVID and then gets pneumonia as well, or because COVID is often non-causally associated with other diseases and conditions.

The takeaway message? Even with the old and ill, deaths with COVID plus deaths from COVID are less than ten percent of all deaths. For those under fourteen years old, it’s less than one percent of all deaths. For infants, 0.2%.

Here’s another look at the CDC data. Here are the deaths from the most frequent diseases where COVID-19 is listed as a co-morbidity.

Figure 1. Deaths from diseases where COVID-19 is a co-morbidity.

I note that on average the people who died had more than two underlying conditions, plus COVID. And while a goodly number of some categories like respiratory diseases assuredly result from an initial COVID infection, things like obesity, cancer, heart conditions, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes clearly are not caused by COVID. We have a mix of deaths with, and deaths from, COVID.

How much of this is from COVID and how much is with COVID? Unfortunately, here’s no way to tell from the data at hand. If I were forced to guess I’d say two-thirds to three-quarters are deaths from COVID, and one-third to one-quarter are just deaths with COVID, but that’s a guess. If so that would mean that COVID has caused about six percent of all deaths of people over 65, decreasing with age down to a tenth of one percent among infants.

Next move? End the hugely costly lockdowns. I just published a post here on WUWT discussing a study of how the lockdowns have cost millions of years of productive life. We need to stop locking people down, accept the occasional flareups, and get America back to work.

My best to everyone,


As Always: When you comment please quote the exact words that you are discussing so we can all understand who and what you are referring to.

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