Covid Conspiracies Are a Deadly Matter
Just to clear up any confusion, the 2019 novel coronavirus is a serious health threat. There’s no debating that fact if you look at the global impact of what we’ve come to call Covid-19. However, if you’re of the QAnon persuasion or ascribe to conspiracy pushers of the same ilk, you may falsely believe that the virus presents little risk. That’s just not true.
The latest in an ongoing effort to delegitimize the science is a blatantly misleading interpretation of a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report detailing Covid-19 deaths. The report the CDC published Aug. 26 presented data indicating that approximately 9,000 people with no comorbidities had died as a result of the virus.
That number does not reflect the overall death toll, but simply means the virus has killed 9,000 otherwise healthy people. That comes out to about 6 percent of Covid-19 fatalities.
Comorbidities, or underlying health conditions, can be present in the human body without causing death. However, health outcome risk increases when someone with a compromised immune system is infected with Covid-19. It’s not complicated. Flu-related deaths are most concentrated among those with comorbidities, and we accept that as fact.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, went on the record Tuesday with “Good Morning America” to clarify:
“It’s not 9,000 deaths from Covid-19, it’s 180-plus-thousand deaths.”
“That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of Covid didn’t die of Covid-19. They did. So the numbers you’ve been hearing — there are 180,000-plus deaths — are real deaths from Covid-19. Let (there) not be any confusion about that.”
Simply put, if your immune system is not at peak performance, the likelihood of you becoming severely ill or dying as a result of the coronavirus increases substantially. Still, the CDC report should serve as a stark reminder that this virus can kill even the healthiest people.
The real U.S. death toll as of Wednesday afternoon is 184,962, according to the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. The virus has claimed the lives of 858,726 people across the world. The U.S. represents about 21 percent of the global death toll but barely 4 percent of the world’s population.
The disproportionate impact in the U.S. is not hard to understand when we consider the lack of national leadership to mitigate spread and prevalence of conspiracy theorists, and anti-maskers fueled by said conspiracy theorists.Protesters demonstrate against stay-at-home orders that were put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Huntington Beach, Calif. (Wikimedia Commons)
Unfortunately, President Donald Trump picked up on and shared a tweet originating from one “Mel Q” that perpetuated the false claim that the CDC “quietly” updated its numbers “to admit that only 6%” of people “actually died from Covid.” As we’ve covered, and as Fauci confirmed, that’s not at all what the report says.
Still, Trump shared the post with his 85.7 million followers, some of whom are like moths to a fire for a good conspiracy. Twitter later removed the post Sunday with a message that read:
“This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”
By then, though, much damage had already been done. The 9,000 number is being tossed around as if it’s fact, which it is not, and is being used to argue against health orders and use of masks.
The danger there is obvious: If people do not work to protect themselves or others as the virus is still spreading, we run the risk of even more unnecessary deaths, including about 6 percent of otherwise healthy people.