CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s remarks characterizing the health of vaccinated people who die from COVID-19 stirred controversy over the weekend.
“The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities,” she said Friday in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.
“So really these are people who were unwell to begin with,” Walensky said.
Her reference was to a recent CDC study of vaccinated people, but a clip of her interview that left out that qualification was regarded by many on social media as an admission that the vast majority of deaths from COVID-19 are among people who already were seriously ill.
In fact, critics of the federal government’s response to the pandemic pointed out more than one year ago that the data on the CDC website indicated that only 6% of all recorded COVID-19 deaths were from COVID alone, with 94% having an average of 2.6 comorbidities.
A CDC study published in July found 95% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 had at least one underlying medical condition. The most common conditions were essential hypertension (50.4%), disorders of lipid metabolism (49.4%) and obesity (33%). The data were drawn from hospitalized patients aged 18 years or older with COVID-19 from March 2020 through March 2021 in more than 800 U.S. hospitals.
The fact that age and underlying conditions are a significant risk factor is the premise of the “focused-protection” response advocated by many epidemiologists who have been shunned by the government and establishment media.
On Sunday, “Fox News Sunday” host Bret Baier asked Walensky how many “of the 836,000 deaths in the U.S. linked to COVID are from COVID or how many are with COVID but they had other comorbidities, do you have that breakdown?”
Walensky didn’t answer, pivoting to omicron, which comprises a small fraction of the total COVID deaths to which Baier was referring.
“Yes, of course. With omicron, we are following that very carefully,” she replied. “Our death registry, of course, takes a few weeks to — it 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.”
See Walensky’s remarks to “Good Morning America”:
See Walensky’s remarks to Bret Baier:
Walensky’s comments were regarded by many Twitter users as disrespectful toward disabled or chronically ill people, with some using the hashtag #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy, Newsweek reported.
Disability rights activist Imani Barbarin wrote: “Contrary to popular belief, CDC Director, disabled people aren’t just data points. … How callous to say you’re encouraged by the prospect of their deaths.”
Matthew Courtland, a lawyer who describes himself as “chronically ill” and “disabled,” wrote that it’s “no wonder that @CDCgov has consistently refused to issue guidance protecting the health & wellbeing of chronically ill Americans – our deaths clearly don’t count.”
Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health has actively opposed the general pandemic strategy of focusing protection on the vulnerable while allowing the healthy, who have very little risk, to go about their business.
Emails released last month, as WND reported, showed then-NIH Director Francis Collins asking White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci to carry out a “quick and devastating published takedown” of the Great Barrington Declaration, which called for focused protection of the vulnerable older population based on data showing they are more than a thousand times more likely to die from COVID infection than the young. Collins described the three Harvard, Stanford and Oxford scientists who created the declaration as “fringe epidemiologists.”
Walensky reacted Sunday to the criticism from activists of her remarks with a tweet in which she emphasized the importance of protecting the vulnerable.
“We must protect people with comorbidities from severe COVID-19,” she wrote. “I went into medicine — HIV specifically — and public health to protect our most at-risk,” she wrote. “CDC is taking steps to protect those at highest risk, including those with chronic health conditions, disabilities and older adults.”
In an interview with MSNBC, Walensky said the CDC is “recommending people be boosted if they are over the age of 65, if they live in longterm care facilities and if they have high risk of severe disease by virtue of the fact that they have other comorbidities.”
See Walensky’s remarks to MSNBC:
CDC Dir. Walensky: “We are recommending people be boosted if they are over the age of 65, if they live in longterm care facilities and if they have high risk of severe disease by virtue of the fact that they have other comorbidities.” pic.twitter.com/Ym8qkXg9s8
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 25, 2021
Walensky previously acknowledged that some 40% of the patients in hospitals who were recorded as COVID patients were there for other reasons, having tested positive for COVID after admission.
CNN’s Jake Tapper said Monday in an interview with network health contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta said the inclusion of such people in hospitalization figures is “misleading.”
“Yeah, I agree, Jake, it surprises me that they have not been able to parse out that data more carefully,” Gupta replied.
Last week, acknowledging that the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 has been overstated, New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced hospitals now must clarify if patients with the novel coronavirus came to the hospital due to symptoms of COVID-19 or because of another health issue.
Previously, as WND reported, New York state’s acting health commissioner admitted at a news conference with Hochul that she misled parents about the magnitude of hospitalizations for COVID-19 among children, explaining she raised fears of a concerning trend to “motivate” them to get their children vaccinated.
See Tapper and Gupta:
CNN’s Jake Tapper rips into “misleading” COVID hospitalization numbers.
“We’re 2 years into this … if somebody’s in the hospital with a broken leg and they also have asymptomatic COVID, that should not be counted as hospitalized with covid, clearly.” pic.twitter.com/rZhcANyYaW
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) January 10, 2022
CNN’s Brian Stelter on Monday, after playing a clip of a Walensky interview with the “Today” show’s Savannah Guthrie, said the CDC has “a huge credibility crisis” and has “turned into a punch line.”
CNN: “The CDC has turned into a punch line. It is so sad but it’s true. The CDC has turned into a punch line…and the answer is yes, there’s a huge credibility crisis for the CDC.”
It’s official—they’re in the CYA and blame-shifting stage now. This could get ugly. pic.twitter.com/Pgw8CutM3V
— Michael P Senger (@MichaelPSenger) January 10, 2022
EDITOR’S NOTE: Last year, America’s doctors, nurses and paramedics were celebrated as frontline heroes battling a fearsome new pandemic. Today, under Joe Biden, tens of thousands of these same heroes are denounced as rebels, conspiracy theorists, extremists and potential terrorists. Along with massive numbers of police, firemen, Border Patrol agents, Navy SEALs, pilots, air-traffic controllers, and countless other truly essential Americans, they’re all considered so dangerous as to merit termination, their professional and personal lives turned upside down due to their decision not to be injected with the experimental COVID vaccines. Biden’s tyrannical mandate threatens to cripple American society – from law enforcement to airlines to commercial supply chains to hospitals. It’s already happening. But the good news is that huge numbers of “yesterday’s heroes” are now fighting back – bravely and boldly. The whole epic showdown is laid out as never before in the sensational October issue of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled “THE GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION: ‘We will not comply!’ COVID-19 power grab ignites bold new era of national defiance.”
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