FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims No One Has Died From A Heart Attack, Cancer, Flu, Pneumonia Or Old Age This Year
A viral Facebook post shared more than 13,000 times claims no one has died from a heart attack, cancer, influenza, pneumonia or old age this year.
Provisional data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) debunks the claim. There are also publicly available obituaries that show people have died from such causes this year.
The post being shared appears to allude to the debunked theory that nearly all deaths, regardless of cause, are being counted as COVID-19 fatalities. It claims that “no one has died from cancer, heart attacks, pneumonia, flu or old age this entire year!”
But the claim doesn’t hold up. Sally Aiken, the president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, called it “ridiculous” in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Did The NYT Use A Photo Of Coffins From An Italian Shipwreck For An Article On Coronavirus Deaths?)
“The assertion in the viral post is ridiculous,” Aiken said. “Reviewing death reports in my own jurisdiction since March shows plenty of the usual types of deaths listed below.”
Aiken suggested looking at public obituaries, which often list the cause of the death, as one way to debunk the claim. Publicly available obituaries do indeed show that people have died from cancer, heart attack, flu, pneumonia and natural causes this year.
Provisional data from the NCHS also indicates that such deaths have occurred in the U.S. in 2020. For instance, in a 10-week period spanning from the week ending March 7 to the week ending May 9, the NCHS reported over 614,000 deaths from natural causes, including over 111,000 from cancer (malignant neoplasm), over 133,000 from heart disease and over 14,000 from either influenza or pneumonia. Coronary artery disease, a type of heart disease, causes most heart attacks, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In that same time frame, about 76,000 deaths had COVID-19 listed as the underlying cause, according to provisional NCHS data.
Heart disease and cancer remain two of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and around the globe. A recent report from the American Cancer Society estimates there will be over 606,500 cancer deaths in the U.S. this year.
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