What Rochelle Walensky Actually Said About Comorbidities and Covid Deaths | National Review

What Rochelle Walensky Actually Said About Comorbidities and Covid Deaths | National Review

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., May 11, 2021. (Greg Nash/Reuters)

A short clip that spread like wildfire on Monday appeared to show CDC director Rochelle Walensky claiming that 75 percent of Covid deaths occurred in people who had “at least four comorbidities.” In reality, the fuller context shows that she was talking about a study of vaccinated people, not all people who had ever died of Covid. The distinction is crucial.

As Allahpundit details in a useful corrective, Walensky was not trying to make the case that people who have fewer than four comorbidities are at limited risk of death from Covid. She cited a study of 1.2 million people who were vaccinated, of which 36 died of Covid. Among those 36, three-quarters of people had at least four comorbidities. So she was trying to argue that vaccines are so effective, that it’s very rare for a vaccinated person to die of Covid, and even in those rare circumstances, the deaths were among those who already were suffering from a number of conditions.

Unfortunately, even though the full clip has been readily available, people are still trying to promote the shorter clip and suggest Walensky was finally admitting the real truth about Covid. Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted about it just before 9 p.m., for instance.

There are ways to argue that the public health community, and the media, have warped people’s perceptions of the risks of dying of Covid for otherwise healthy people. Yet that was clearly not the point Walensky was making. She was making a point about the efficacy of vaccines in reducing the risk of death from Covid to near zero.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.