Viral social media posts falsely claim that no one has died at home from COVID-19, implying that poor medical care contributed to the deaths or that the disease is a hoax. Nearly 10,000 coronavirus victims have died in their homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As the United States reached a grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, recent social media posts falsely claim that no one has died from the novel coronavirus in their homes — implying that poor medical care contributed to their deaths or that the pandemic isn’t real.
“Not a single person with corona virus has been found dead in their home; every death has occurred at a hospital …” reads one of the posts. Some comments on the post speculated that victims were “murdered in hospitals or nursing homes,” while others claimed the pandemic is a hoax.
But contrary to the post’s claim, nearly 10,000 people have died in their home due to COVID-19 as of Sept. 12, according to the provisional death count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cities hit hard by the novel coronavirus also saw an uptick in home deaths. In Houston, officials saw a spike in people dying at home with “an increasing number” of deaths coming from COVID-19, according to a ProPublica and NBC News report from July.
Authorities in New York City saw a similar trend early on in the pandemic when 200 people were dying at home each day in the city in early April, according to Gothamist and WNYC. Prior to the pandemic, there were 20 to 25 at-home deaths per day in the city, the report said.
Although some commented on the false Facebook post that victims were “murdered” in hospitals, the mortality rate in intensive care units has fallen over the course of the pandemic. Improvements in care have come as doctors have gained more experience in treating the disease, Dr. Craig Coopersmith, director of Emory Critical Care Center in Georgia, told NPR.
“There’s certainly nothing routine about the pandemic,” Coopersmith said, “but in terms of how we’re managing it, once you have taken care of something for the tenth time, it is normal.”
Along with experience, Coopersmith told NPR studies showing the benefit of steroids for sick patients has improved COVID-19 patients’ chances of surviving a trip to the ICU.
A commenter claimed that hospitals are being paid $39,000 for each COVID-19 death and that they’re “killing them for money.” But FactCheck.org reported in April that while legislation pays hospitals higher Medicare rates for COVID-19 patients and treatment, there’s no evidence of fraudulent case reporting.
The New York Times. “Covid in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count.” Accessed 22 Sep 2020.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Provisional Death Counts.” Accessed 22 Sep 2020.
Ornstein, Charles. Hixenbaugh, Mike. “A Spike in People Dying at Home Suggests Coronavirus Deaths in Houston May Be Higher Than Reported.” ProPublica and NBC News. 8 July 2020.
Hogan, Gwynne. “Staggering Surge Of NYers Dying In Their Homes Suggests City Is Undercounting Coronavirus Fatalities.” Gothamist and WNYC. 7 April 2020.
“Outcomes from intensive care in patients with COVID‐19: a systematic review and meta‐analysis of observational studies.” Association of Anaesthetists. 15 June 2020.
Harris, Richard. “Advances In ICU Care Are Saving More Patients Who Have COVID-19.” NPR. 20 September 2020.
Fichera, Angelo. “Hospital Payments and the COVID-19 Death Count.” FactCheck.org. 21 April 2020.