Healthy Living: COVID-19 questions


Recent headlines from the CDC have a lot of people questioning just how deadly COVID-19 actually is.

They reported that only 6% of the 154,000 deaths listed COVID-19 as the only cause of death.

Dr. Jerry Maloney, Chief Medical Officer for Geisinger Hospitals, explained what these numbers really mean.

“If I have COVID-19 and I go out for a walk and am hit by a car, I died because I’m hit by the car. Now if someone has a chronic medical condition, like lung disease, I get COVID-19 on top of that, that makes my breathing worse. I die of respiratory failure, but yet, I’ve died of COVID-19 because COVID was the acute event that caused my body to decompensate and actually cause my death. Yet if you wanted to count the death and chronic lung disease, you probably could. But that wouldn’t be accurate, and that’s why the numbers sometimes seem different.

The table on the CDC’s website lists underlying conditions of those who died of COVID-19, which include lung disease, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

Dr. Maloney says people who have chronic diseases like these and get COVID typically do not do well because the coronavirus taxes the same organ systems.

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