September 21, 2020

Claim that only 6% of reported COVID deaths actually caused by virus a ‘horrible misinterpretation,’ state’s top doctor says

If you glanced at social media over the last several days, chances are you’ve probably seen someone touting a recently released CDC report that showed that 6 percent of reported COVID-19 deaths had no other comorbidities listed as “proof” that the coronavirus isn’t as deadly as health experts have said.

Mississippi’s top health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Wednesday that assertion is a “horrible misinterpretation” of what the report shows.

“There’s been a lot of crazy theories out there,” he said during a news conference Wednesday.

Dobbs read excerpts of actual death certificates of patients that had tested positive for COVID-19, all of which had other comorbidities listed, and pointed out how some were counted as COVID-19 deaths and some were not depending upon the actual circumstances of each case.

“We take it very seriously and looking at this very closely to make sure it was COVID,” he said. “The people from Mississippi who have died from COVID, that we are reporting, definitely died from coronavirus. So let’s put that silliness to rest.”

Dobbs further said he believes the number of COVID-19 deaths with no other comorbidities listed should probably be zero.

“No one dies with one thing,” he said. “Just because you have three things on a death certificate doesn’t mean that you didn’t die (from one). I have never filled out a death certificate and I’ve done it for years until recently where I just put one thing.”

“If you look at comorbidities, the majority of Mississippians have a comorbidity,” he said. “700,000 people plus in Mississippi have hypertension. So does that mean they don’t deserve to live because they have a comorbidity?

“Almost 40 percent of Mississippians are obese and that’s a comorbidity,” he said.

“Everybody has a comorbidity almost in Mississippi, unless you’re under 30,” he said. “It’s really just a horrible misinterpretation of reality.”