Most U.S. citizens who've succumbed to COVID-19 also had other conditions listed as contributors to their deaths.
New information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides some interesting context for the deaths we've suffered as a nation, due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the report, only 6 percent of U.S. patients who died of COVID-19 between February 1 and August 22, 2020, had no other conditions besides the virus listed as cause of death. That means that 94% of people who died also suffered from additional conditions.
In fact, for those who had contributing conditions, on average, that number of conditions was 2.6.
While this data in no way minimizes the severity of COVID-19, it does provide some interesting context, such as the fact that the virus is much more dangerous to someone whose health is already compromised to some extent. The addition of the coronavirus to existing conditions can certainly intensify the symptoms and outcome.
Of the 161,000+ deaths recorded, the CDC lists influenza and pneumonia as a contributing condition for 68,000 people, diabetes for 25,900 people, and cardiac arrest for 20,000. Find the full chart here, under Table 3.
The information also raises some questions. For instance, are all hospitals coding the deaths and symptoms in the same way? Respiratory diseases are listed as a contributing condition some 167,000 times. Since COVID-19 primarily exhibits respiratory symptoms, is it possible that some of those patients developed the contributing respiratory disease (or symptoms) in the course of fighting COVID? Someone who developed pneumonia because of COVID would have both COVID and pneumonia listed as a cause of death, even though pnemonia wasn't a "contributor" as much as it was an effect.
Regardless, it seems that the coronavirus indeed exacerbates symptoms of other underlying conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, heart issues, renal issues, and more.
Are you a medical professional who's familiar with how deaths are coded? If you have anything to contribute to this discussion, we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!