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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 5, 2023

Misinterpretation of CDC COVID-19 data leads to misinformation about vaccines

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  • This mischaracterizes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data about COVID-19 deaths. For the week ended Aug. 19, 1.7% of all deaths in the United States were caused by COVID-19. 

Did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention falsify data about COVID-19 deaths to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the disease? 

That’s what a recent headline claims: "CDC admits it faked 99% of COVID deaths to scare public into taking vaccine."   

An Instagram post sharing it was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The blog post that published the headline Aug. 31 goes on to say that "newly released data from the CDC reveals that most recorded fatalities that were blanket-blamed on COVID were caused by something else."

The post’s logic appears to be that because the CDC reported that "just 1.7% of the 324 ‘COVID deaths’ registered in the week ending Aug. 19 had COVID as the primary cause of death," then "only a fraction of the claimed number of American lives are being lost directly to the virus each week." The post purported that CDC data showed "99 percent of ‘Covid deaths’ have been faked."

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The post followed an Aug. 28 Daily Mail story that bore the headline: "99% of ‘COVID deaths’ not primarily caused by the virus, CDC data shows." 

That headline has since been updated to say: "Covid to blame for just 1% of weekly deaths from all causes across the US, CDC data shows."

"An earlier version of this article claimed 99% of COVID deaths in the past week were not primarily caused by the virus," a correction appended to the bottom of the article says. "In fact, a footnote at the bottom of the CDC’s COVID data tracker explains the percentage of all reported deaths attributed as COVID-19 is calculated based on the number of deaths from all causes."

For the week ended Sept. 23, 2.7% of deaths in the United States were caused by COVID-19, the CDC’s data shows.

We rate claims that the CDC admitted it faked data to scare the public into getting COVID-19 vaccines False.


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Misinterpretation of CDC COVID-19 data leads to misinformation about vaccines

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