94% of COVID-19 deaths had underlying health problems, 6% died of virus alone: CDC

People look at the Manhattan skyline on April 2, 2020 as seen from Weehawken, New Jersey. |

Only 6% of coronavirus deaths in the United States mention COVID-19 as the only cause, while the remaining 94% of deaths with the virus had other “health conditions and contributing causes” as well, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned,” says the CDC report. This comes to 9,683 deaths.

The top conditions contributing to deaths involving coronavirus disease include influenza and pneumonia, respiratory failure, hypertensive disease, diabetes, vascular and unspecified dementia, cardiac arrest, heart failure, renal failure, intentional and unintentional injury and poisoning, the report shows.

The numbers released by the CDC are based on “provisional death counts,” and the agency says that’s most reliable to “deliver the most complete and accurate picture of lives lost to COVID-19.”

It explains that “they are based on death certificates, which are the most reliable source of data and contain information not available anywhere else, including comorbid conditions, race and ethnicity, and place of death.”

The CDC defines comorbidity as having “more than one disease or condition … present in the same person at the same time.”

“Conditions described as comorbidities are often chronic or long-term conditions. Other names to describe comorbid conditions are coexisting or co-occurring conditions and sometimes also ‘multimorbidity’ or ‘multiple chronic conditions.’”

CDC Coronavirus Figures
The CDC report's "Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." |

The total number of coronavirus deaths in the country was 182,149 as of early Monday, according to CDC, whose data shows that the latest count of the confirmed cases stands at nearly 6 million.

Data from The COVID Tracking Project shows that the current seven-day average of about 41,000 new cases is down from nearly 67,000 new cases “per day” during the peak in July. But the number of cases are growing in the Midwest.

Globally, there are 25.2 million confirmed cases of the new coronavirus with 846,448 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, followed by Brazil with 3,862,311 cases, India with 3,621,245 cases and Russia with 987,470 cases.

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