Correction: This article was based on a clip from ABC's Good Morning America that left out important context: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky's was talking about a study of COVID deaths among vaccinated individuals.
Our original article contains the information about the study she was referring to, but our headline has now been updated to properly reflect this information.
Speaking to Good Morning America, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky confirmed that among vaccinated individuals, "the overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities, so these are people who were unwell to begin with."
"I want to ask you about those encouraging headlines that we're talking about this morning," the host asked. "This new study showing just how well vaccines are working to prevent severe illness. Given that, is it time to start rethinking how we're living with this virus? But it's potentially here to stay?"
"The overwhelming number of deaths over 75 percent occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities," Walensky said. "So really these are people who were unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of Omicron. This means not only just to get your primary series but to get your booster series. And yes, we're really encouraged by these results." She was referring to the percentage of vaccinated people that continue to die from COVID.
Walensky was citing a CDC study released on Friday that found that so-called breakthrough coronavirus deaths among those who are vaccinated were more likely to happen in those with 4 or more comorbidities, Fox News reported. According to CDC data, 52 percent of COVID deaths in the US were COVID plus pneumonia.
On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gave false information during oral arguments over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates. Walensky corrected these falsehoods over the weekend.
"The numbers," Sotomayor said, "look at the hospitalization rates that are going on. We have more affected people in the country today than we had a year ago in January. We have hospitals that are almost at full capacity with people severely ill on ventilators."
"We have over 100,000 children," Sotomayor went on, "which we've never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators. So saying it's a workplace variant just underscores the fact that without some workplace rules with respect to vaccines or encouraging vaccines, because this is not a vaccine mandate."
Walensky spoke to Fox News' Bret Baier, saying "In some hospitals that we've talked to, up to 40 percent of the patients who are coming in with COVID are coming in not because they're sick with COVID but because they're coming in with something else and have had COVID or the omicron variant detected."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's top COVID doc, made the same assertion as regards children. As headlines began to pop that hospitals were filling up with COVID positive kids, Fauci said in an interview with MSNBC that "If a child goes into the hospital, they automatically get tested for COVID and they get counted as a COVID-hospitalized individual, when, in fact, they may go in for a broken leg or appendicitis or something like that. So it's over counting the number of children who are, quote, hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID."
Walensky said that official numbers, sorted between those who died with and those who died from COVID, would be forthcoming.
"Among 1,228,664 persons who completed primary vaccination during December 2020–October 2021," Fox News reported, citing the CDC study, "severe COVID-19–associated outcomes (0.015%) or death (0.0033%) were rare. Risk factors for severe outcomes included age ?65 years, immunosuppressed, and six other underlying conditions. All persons with severe outcomes had at least one risk factor; 78% of persons who died had at least four," the CDC study released Friday said."
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