President Trump recently retweeted a claim suggesting that only 6 percent of deaths associated with COVID-19 are really attributable to the virus, because the other 94 percent list COVID-19 as just one of several causes of death on their medical reports (while the remaining 6 percent list only COVID-19).
The data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that these ninety-four percent of deaths related to the coronavirus were indeed caused by COVID-19 in addition to another health condition — not that the other condition was the only cause of death. It is true that COVID-19 can exacerbate other pre-existing health conditions, contributing to death that may have otherwise not occurred so soon. It is also true that COVID-19 can itself cause other health problems like pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, which can then contribute to death. These conditions are then generally listed on the deceased person’s death certificate. It is actually the exception for COVID-19-related deaths to be recorded only as due to COVID-19 because of the many other serious health issues it causes that could contribute to a person’s death. In fact, most experts agree that COVID-19 deaths are undercounted, not overcounted.