The tweet – which was replaced with a message saying: “This Tweet is no longer available because it violates Twitter rules – of ‘Mel Q”, copied from someone else’s Facebook post, claimed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had “discreetly” updated its figures “to admit that only 6%” of people listed as coronavirus deaths “actually died of Covid”, since “the remaining 94% had 2- 3 other serious illnesses ”.
That’s not what the CDC said.
As of 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Twitter had failed to delete a second tweet, also retweeted by the president on Sunday, which broadcast the same false statement. The second tweet, written by Trump’s campaign advisor Jenna Ellis, was linked to an article on the right-wing Gateway Pundit website based on the QAnon supporter’s tweet.
CNN has contacted the White House for comment on Trump’s retweets.
This is not at all the same as saying that only 6% of reported deaths from Covid-19 “actually died” from Covid-19. It just means that the remaining 94% were listed as having at least one additional factor contributing to their death.
For example, the remaining 94% include people whose death certificate mentioned both Covid-19 and obesity, both Covid-19 and diabetes, or both Covid-19 and heart disease – between other conditions.
People can live with obesity, diabetes, or heart disease for years, but then become infected with Covid-19 and die quickly. Just because they also had an underlying illness doesn’t mean Covid-19 wasn’t a major reason, or the main reason they died when they did.
It’s no secret that pre-existing health conditions can cause people to experience more serious issues from Covid-19. The CDC has long said that the elderly and those with other underlying health conditions are more likely to become seriously ill.
Its statistics page currently states that for “deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”
The CDC told CNN in July that Covid-19 would end up as one of the top 10 causes of death for 2020. The CDC’s final ranking will be based on calendar year death certificates. Based on the leading causes of 2018, the most recent year available, Covid-19 ranks third behind heart disease and cancer.
Trump shared the false information with his 85 million subscribers. As of 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, the now-deleted “Mel Q” tweet amplified by Trump had been retweeted more than 48,000 times.
At least 182,885 people have died from coronavirus in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
CNN’s Jason Hoffman contributed to this report.