Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s recent comments on COVID-19 deaths were in reference to a study on vaccinated populations, according to a CDC spokesperson.
In an interview with Good Morning America on Jan. 7, Walensky said that an overwhelming number of deaths, 75 percent, occurred in people who had four or more comorbidities.
“So really, these are people who were unwell to begin with,” Walensky said. “And, yes, really encouraging news in the context of Omicron. This means to not only get your primary series, but to get your booster series.”
In an email, a CDC spokesperson told the Epoch Times that Walensky was referring to a recent study from the agency that looked at the more than 1.2 million persons who completed primary vaccination during December 2020–October 2021.
The study found that 78 percent of the people to die from COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine had at least four other underlying health conditions. It also found that, in all deaths, the patient had at least one other risk factor.
The study also found death among the vaccinated to be extremely rare, 0.0033 percent, with risk factors for severe outcomes being for those over the age of 65, the immunosuppressed, and those with six other underlying conditions.
As Walensky did not specifically say she was referring to vaccinated populations, some on Twitter took her statement to be referring to all COVID-19 deaths.
One political commentator, Clay Travis, tweeted:
“The CDC director just said over 75 percent of ‘covid deaths’ occurred in people with at least four comorbidities. Since Biden can’t shut down covid, suddenly all this data is getting shared publicly.”
Two days after the Good Morning America interview, Walensky dodged a question on Fox News on the underlying conditions among the total number of COVID-19 deaths—vaccinated and unvaccinated.
When asked whether the CDC had the breakdown of how many of the more than 835,000 total U.S. COVID-19 deaths have occurred among people with other comorbidities, Walensky did not respond directly to the question, but said that data in the context of Omicron is still forthcoming.
“With Omicron, we are following that very carefully,” she said. “Our death registry, of course, takes a few weeks to collect and, of course, Omicron has just been with us for a few weeks. But those data will be forthcoming.”
In that interview, she also said that up to 40 percent of the patients who are being hospitalized with COVID-19 are coming in not because they’re sick with COVID-19, but for another reason and incidentally tested positive for the virus.
“What I will say, it differs by each variant,” the director said. “So, some variant—first of all, we’re doing screening in many hospitals of everybody who’s walking in the door. What we’re seeing with the Omicron variant is that it tends to be milder person by person, but given how large the numbers are, that we’re seeing more and more cases come into the hospital.”