An analysis of deaths in Palm Beach County medical records late last month revealed that "most" of the county's Covid-19 deaths cannot be attributed to Covid-19 alone.
Many of the deaths "involved comorbidity like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, and more," according to an I-Team investigation by CBS 12.
The investigation spanned 658 of the county's "Covid deaths". Investigators found that of the 658 cases, just 86 listed "Covid-19 pneumonia" without contributing causes as the reason for death. 3 were listed as "COVID-19 respiratory infection" without contributing causes.
94 cases were listed as a "combination of COVID-19 infection, pneumonia, and respiratory infection/failure".
All of the other deaths involved comorbidities, the data found. In 116 cases, the death involved three or more "serious health conditions in addition to a Covid-19 infection". One woman, who was 94 years old and had "Type 2 Diabetes, Atrial Fibrillation, and Congestive Heart Failure" had her cause of death listed as "Accute Respiratory Failure and COVID-19 pneumonia".
Another record showed a 72 year old man who died from Sepsis and a urinary tract infection had Covid-19 listed as a "contributory cause." 92 cases showed that Covid-19 was a contributor, but not the primary cause of death.
Dr. Terry Adirim, a Senior Associate Dean at the Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine commented: "The fact that it skews older and people with co-morbid conditions -- that's not surprising."
Yet, she still advises young people not to ignore the data: "The more you are exposed the more likely you are to have serious illness, the more likely you are to die. And if you have been infected, even if you are younger, you are going to bring it home and bring it into your community as well."
She continued: "I would not recommend feeling so good about getting it. We don't have a vaccine, it's a novel virus, and yes we are doing better treating it and yes it tends to affect people with comorbid conditions, but it's like playing Russian roulette. It's very likely you're not going to shoot yourself, and it's not likely you'll get seriously ill and die [from COVID] but that doesn't mean it won't happen."
"It's much more likely that we are under-counting COVID deaths," she said without offering up direct evidence, "and that's something that we see in pandemics."
Investigators also found 8 erroneous deaths layered in the county's tally. The average age of deaths in Palm Beach was 77.3 years old.