Huntsville doctor explains dangerous false information surrounding new CDC stats

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 8:39 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Over the weekend, new data from the CDC was twisted to create controversy and false information on social media sites.

The false information stemmed from the CDC putting out new information saying 94% of people in the U.S. who died from COVID-19 had other underlying conditions that contributed to their death, while 6% of COVID-19 deaths were people who just had coronavirus.

This was twisted into a theory that COVID-19 is not as deadly as doctors have made it out to be, leading to phrases like “only 6%” trending. One tweet stating this was even retweeted by President Donald Trump. Twitter later removed the post because it was false and violated the company’s rules.

Dr. Ali Hassoun, an infectious disease specialist at Huntsville Hospital, said this new data isn’t anything unexpected to him and other doctors.

“We’ve been saying that since the beginning, those who have multiple co-morbidities will be at higher risk of complications, so it’s not surprising, those 94%,” Hassoun said.

Some people may still argue that there is no way to prove COVID-19 was the real cause of death when there are other contributing illnesses. But, Hassoun said coronavirus acts as an accelerator, without it, many of these people who have died could’ve lived years longer.

“If there was no COVID, no pandemic, we would not have seen 170,000 deaths at all, period,” he said. “Because COVID is the main factor that caused the death and pushed it to the edge of people dying.”

Hassoun also wants to warn people who do not have underlying health factors, just because only 6% of COVID deaths involved people without factors does not mean you should feel confident that the virus couldn’t kill you.

”This is a personal experience, we see a patient who is young, does not have any health issues, comes and gets admitted one day and crashes the next day and unfortunately die and they didn’t have any health issues,” he said. “It really depends what stage of infection happens for that person.”

Hassoun said the virus turns potentially deadly when it gets into the lungs, and that’s what happened to the young person he just talked about.

Hasosun also doesn’t want people to forget about the unknowns, it’s still unclear what long lasting effects coronavirus could have down the road.

“I’ve had patient now supposedly recover from COVID, they’re young and they’re telling you, ’I’m extremely exhausted, I cannot do much as I used to do, I cannot go back to work, if I start moving I get short of breath, this is not my usual life and it’s affected me in different ways,’” he said.

Hassoun hopes to see more people embrace the guidelines set by Alabama leaders, social distance, wear a mask, quarantine when you have been exposed and so on.

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