LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A new report from the Centers for Disease Control out of Atlanta had social media abuzz over the weekend, and for a good reason.
The CDC tinkered with its coronavirus death toll, concluding that only 6 percent of those who had the virus and died actually passed away directly due to it.
"Misinformation can spread faster than the virus," said Kevin Hall from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
Hall started by saying that "only" is a ridiculous word to attach to a death toll. One is too many, so how does 6 percent warrant such callous language, he wondered.
He also noted that COVID-19 has triggered other health problems, even if a death certificate reads otherwise.
"Look at Kentucky, we have the highest obesity rate in the country. That's an underlying condition," Hall said, before noting that 1 out of 7 Kentuckians is also diabetic, which is another underlying condition.
Hall said pregnancy, high blood pressure, and other causes, which wouldn't be an immediate death sentence for most, are complicating those matters and the complications are spurred on by the virus. That's one reason why the health department feels chalking up a death due to an underlying condition or old age isn't fair or accurate.
"They've lived to this point and this long (with other conditions), but COVID-19 exacerbated their illness," Hall said.
Twitter accounts, whose owners have tweeted or retweeted the CDC's findings, have been flagged for passing along possible misleading information, including the account belonging to President Donald Trump.
But even if the CDC numbers are taken at face value, Hall said its 6 percent claim would still be alarming.
"It's very troubling that otherwise healthy and young people are getting COVID-19 and dying from it," he said.
Hall said we're likely a long way from a vaccine and urged Kentuckians to continue washing hands and wearing masks while practicing social distancing. In just the last five days, Kentucky has experienced 9 percent of its total cases going back 176 days since coronavirus crossed our borders.