World Events

The true number of coronavirus deaths in the US “is well over” 250,000, former CDC director says

The true number of coronavirus deaths in the United States is well over 250,000, former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Saturday during CNN’s town hall.

Frieden, who served as CDC director under President Barack Obama, said a lot of the confusion about Covid-19 mortality rates is the result of the way fatalities are listed on death certificates.

“If you die from cancer, and you also have diabetes, you still died from cancer,” Frieden explained. “If you died from Covid, and you also had diabetes, you died from Covid.”

“Covid does affect older people much, much more than younger people, and many older people have lots of other health problems, so that ends up on the death certificate,” Frieden said.

“The best way to look at this is actually a statistic called ‘excess mortality’ — deaths above baseline — and that’s actually quite a bit higher,” he said. “The true total of this, which includes Covid and Covid-associated (deaths), is well over a quarter of a million deaths in the US so far.”

Frieden said there are typically three types of deaths that result from coronavirus.

“People who died from Covid, and were diagnosed with it; people who died from Covid, but weren’t diagnosed with it because there wasn’t testing, it wasn’t suspected, they died at home; and people who’ve died because of the disruption that Covid causes,” Frieden said.


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