The 6% Health Blunder: Public Misinterpretations of COVID-19 Death Data


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By Daniel Gonzalez

As of September 1st, nearly 183,000 Americans have succumbed to COVID-19 and as the death toll continues to rise, so do the people who believe the death count is vastly inflated. A poll from July by Axios-Ipsos surveyed that nearly one in three people within the United States believe death counts are lower than what is being reported.

Over the last weekend, a claim via Twitter became viral: that only 6 percent of US pandemic deaths have been from COVID-19 itself. The statistic was originally from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 94 percent of individuals who died due to the coronavirus in the United States had underlying health conditions that contributed to their untimely death.

Although assigning the reason of death is not straightforward due to the complexity of the coronavirus itself, it was not long until disease experts and scientists took to social media to point out the 6 percent infographic figure that had become widely misinterpreted. In addition to their efforts of refuting claims to downplay the death numbers, public health experts have consistently noted that numbers are likely undercounts to the true toll of the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a position he has been acting since the administration of Ronald Regan, believes that the real death count could be above 50 percent more than the official national death toll.

We as humans are susceptible to a multitude of biases, but not everyone is a coronavirus skeptic. That is because people with different basic beliefs approach new information with different attitudes and get caught up in misinformation, no matter your place upon the political spectrum. Don’t accept all your information from a singular source and investigate different viewpoints, so you can stay informed on the topics that worry you the most.

Daniel Gonzalez
Daniel Gonzalez
Daniel Gonzalez, a Senior at Ukiah High, likes to write about the political discourse that happen within the United States. He is also interested in obscure pop culture events that happen daily on a domestic scale. He plays tennis and is apart of the SEAPERCH program on campus. He also likes messing with people on Twitter.

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