At least 3% of COVID-19 deaths involve injury, poisoning, or other adverse events, CDC says

'It seems that these are largely cases where someone hospitalized with a non-fatal injury has contracted COVID-19 while in the hospital and subsequently died,' a spokesman for CDC's National Center for Health Statistics says.

Published: August 7, 2020 12:46pm

Updated: August 13, 2020 8:11am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites numerous "adverse events" such as intentional self-harm, drownings and exposure to earthquakes as contributing factors in over 4,000 of its recorded COVID-19 deaths. 

In the CDC's weekly provisional death counts for COVID-19, the agency attributes just over 145,378 total deaths to the virus in the U.S. through Aug. 8. Of those, 4,401 — about 3% — are listed as involving "intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events." 

The agency lists numerous International Classification of Diseases codes used to categorize the factors associated with those deaths. Among those codes are narcotics poisoning, alcohol poisoning, pedestrian injuries, helicopter accidents, suicide, and numerous other incidents far removed from the actual COVID-19 disease. 

Also among the listed codes are deaths from tsunamis, earthquakes, lightning, "exposure to sunlight," "cataclysmic storm[s]," and other forces of nature.

What is not ascertainable from the listed codes is the specific coding for each death; a comprehensive list of the deaths and their associated codes is not present on the website. 

Jeff Lancashire, a spokesman for the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told Just the News on Wednesday that the agency "do[es] not have a breakdown of those codes at this time."

"From looking at some of these records," he said, "it seems that these are largely cases where someone hospitalized with a non-fatal injury has contracted COVID19 while in the hospital and subsequently died."  

"As more data come in, we will take a closer look at these deaths," he added. 

The CDC lays out the provisional numbers as part of its survey of "conditions contributing to deaths where COVID-19 was listed on the death certificate." 

The agency states that provisional death counts "deliver the most complete and accurate picture of lives lost to COVID-19."

The numbers "are based on death certificates, which are the most reliable source of data and contain information not available anywhere else, including comorbid conditions, race and ethnicity, and place of death," the agency explains. 

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