Fact Check

CDC Faked 99% of Reported COVID-19 Deaths?

An article claimed that the vast majority of people who were labeled as "COVID-19 deaths" actually died from other causes.

Published May 14, 2024

 (X user @iluminatibot)
Image courtesy of X user @iluminatibot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention faked 99% of reported deaths from COVID-19.

On May 14, 2024, a rumor went viral on X, claiming that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention faked 99% of reported deaths from COVID-19. As of this writing, the post had gained more than 107,500 views, 2,900 comments and 5,400 reactions.

(X user @iluminatibot)

The post linked to an article from a site called Slay News with the headline "CDC Faked 99% of Reported 'Covid Deaths,' Data Shows" from August 2023. It read:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just quietly published new data that reveals a staggering 99% of reported "Covid deaths" were not actually caused by the virus.

Recent data from the CDC reveals a troubling statistic showing that most recorded fatalities that were blanket-blamed on Covid were actually caused by something else.

According to the CDC's Covid dashboard, just 1.7% of the 324 "Covid deaths" registered in the week ending August 19 had the coronavirus as the primary cause of death.

Alarmingly, the vast majority of people who were labeled as so-called "Covid deaths" actually died of other causes such as cancer and heart disease.

"According to the CDC's own data, 99 percent of 'Covid deaths' have been faked," the article said. 

In short, because the viral rumor misrepresents the CDC's data on COVID-19 deaths, we have rated this claim as "False."

According to the CDC's website, for the week ending on Aug. 19, 2023, COVID-19 accounted for 1.6% of all U.S. fatalities. However, that does not imply that 99% of the reported COVID-19 deaths were unrelated to the virus, as the number reflected COVID-19 deaths as a percentage of deaths from all causes.


The same claim was debunked by AP News and PolitiFact in 2023. The AP reported that in August 2023 the rumor was spread through online posts citing a Daily Mail article as proof, which was later updated to reflect what the numbers actually showed:

A correction added to the Daily Mail article notes that "an earlier version of this article claimed 99 percent of Covid deaths in the past week were not primarily caused by the virus." It then describes how the actual data was calculated and states that the article has been amended to reflect this. The headline of the article was also updated to read: "Covid to blame for just 1% of weekly deaths from all causes across the US, CDC data shows."

Scott Pauley, a spokesperson for the CDC, told The Associated Press that the Daily Mail article now accurately reflects the agency's data and that the CDC has been in touch with the publication about this issue.

It's not the first time we've investigated a CDC-related rumor. In September 2023, we debunked a claim that the CDC said Americans who received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were at higher risk of infection from new variants of the virus than those who were unvaccinated. In April 2020 we investigated whether the CDC's guidelines for listing COVID-19 on death certificates in the absence of a test were resulting in a case overcount.


Bergman, Frank. "CDC Faked 99% of Reported 'Covid Deaths,' Data Shows." Slay News, 30 Aug. 2023, https://slaynews.com/news/cdc-faked-99-reported-covid-deaths-data-shows/.

CDC. "COVID Data Tracker." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Mar. 2020, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker.

"CDC Data Does Not Show That 99% of COVID-19 Deaths Were Due to Other Causes." AP News, 30 Aug. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-covid-deaths-99-percent-cdc-data-828332813362.

O'Rourke, Ciara. "Misinterpretation of COVID-19 Data Leads to Misinformation." @politifact, https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/oct/05/viral-image/misinterpretation-of-cdc-covid-19-data-leads-to-mi/. Accessed 14 May 2024.

Palma, Bethania. "Are CDC Guidelines for Reporting COVID-19 Deaths Inflating Numbers?" Snopes, 20 Apr. 2020, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/cdc-guidelines-covid19/.

Wrona, Aleksandra. "CDC Says Vaccinated Americans Have Higher Risk of Infection than Unvaccinated?" Snopes, 5 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/cdc-risk-assessment-summary-covid-vaccine/.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.

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