By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

A Wirepoints analysis of COVID-19 deaths from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office reveals that 92 percent of victims from the virus had pre-existing medical conditions.* 

The medical examiner’s database showed COVID-19 as the primary cause of death for 2,303 people. Of those, 2,112 were shown to have at least one underlying condition as a secondary cause of death. Those conditions, also known as comorbidities, included hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. There were no secondary causes reported for 191 deaths.

(Read part 2 of Wirepoints’ look at pre-existing conditions: COVID-19 deaths and pre-existing conditions. What Illinois’ data says about who’s at risk.)

This finding is important because Gov. J.B. Pritzker has refused to release any statewide comorbidity data as part of his official Illinois Department of Health releases. Wirepoints asked for data directly from the governor’s office on April 21st, but we were told it was not available. We’ve since released a piece asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker why that’s so: Who’s most at risk for COVID-19 and why isn’t Illinois publishing that data?

Understanding who is most at risk – and who is not – is central to a public understanding of the virus. It’s also central to helping decide when and how to open up our economy and schools. What Cook County’s and other comorbidity data across the country implies is that the risk of death for healthy Illinoisans is far lower than Gov. J.B. Pritzker might lead people to believe based on his protracted lockdown and drawn out reopening plan.

Cook County reports that of the 2,303 victims where COVID-19 was listed as the primary cause of death, 92 percent had one or more comorbidities.

Hypertension affected 1,070 victims, or more than 46 percent of all deaths. Diabetes impacted 973 victims, or 42 percent of the total. Pulmonary disease was part of 397 deaths, or 17 percent. And 215 of those deaths, about 9 percent, were accompanied by obesity or morbid obesity.

Yet others had conditions including cancer and cardiovascular and kidney diseases. The numbers above add up to more than 100 percent because many victims had more than one pre-existing condition.

The Cook County data lines up with city of Chicago data on comorbidities for city deaths. Though the city does not provide any broader detail, it does report that 1,090 of Chicago’s 1,160 COVID-19 deaths had underlying conditions. That’s 94 percent.

What’s stark about the Cook comorbidity data is just how few young adults die from COVID-19 in the absence of some pre-existing condition. Just 3 of the 15 deaths in the 20-29 age bracket had no comorbidities. Same goes for the 30-39 and 40-49 age brackets, where just 26 of the 132 deaths were accompanied with no underlying causes.

The above data is key to mapping out a reopening strategy for schools, universities and workplaces. Younger, healthier adults face far less risk from COVID-19 than originally feared.

On the flip side, it shows who is at risk: anyone with pre-existing conditions, including the elderly. As of May 8, the average age of all COVID-19 deaths in Illinois was 74, a clear sign of where the true risk lies.

Even more, almost 50 percent of all Illinois deaths have been tied to long-term care facilities, the subject of an upcoming Wirepoints piece. That means nearly 1,600 deaths occurred outside the general public.

For months, Illinois residents have lived in fear, a fear that has been exacerbated by a lack of transparency and open reporting from the state. The state didn’t release hospitalization data until outside pressure forced it to. Antibody testing results are still being held back, which we wrote about in With New FDA Action, Gov. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike Have No Excuse for Further Stonewalling Antibody Testing.

And Wirepoints shouldn’t be forced to seek out and compile partial comorbidity data based on tips from others. The state should be open and transparent with all of its COVID-19 statistics.

Regardless, the data continues to be revealed, even with the state’s stonewalling. The information we now know paints a compelling case for a far different reopening plan than Gov. Pritzker has introduced.

Read part 2 of Wirepoints’ look at pre-existing conditions: COVID-19 deaths and pre-existing conditions. What Illinois’ data says about who’s at risk.

*Hat tip to CWB Chicago for making us aware of the examiner’s online database. The link to the examiner’s office is here.

Click here for the full list of Cook County COVID-19 victims

Read more about COVID-19 and the impact on Illinois:

48 Comments
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Alang424
2 months ago

We need this published on MSM. I know impossible task but, you have to try.

Alang424
2 months ago

How can we get this published on MSM? I know almost impossible task but, you have to try..

2 months ago

SO Last Fall, how many people died from the regular FLU? The Fall before, How many died from the FLU? How many died because some one put the sick patient into Senior living quarters??
HOW MANY?

Chad Siewert
2 months ago

As an Illinois resident, I can positively say that the state is populated by communist smiley-faced idiots that will go along with anything… The virus is fake.

2 months ago

On the data file we can see that 990 had “pneumonia” (several forms) listed… How many of those 990 where TESTED for other pneumonia causing viruses or bacteria?

WW
2 months ago

How can we make our voices heard to the governor? The reporters’ questions to the governor are softballs, no one challenging him on what data he is looking at.

MikeH
2 months ago
Reply to  WW

We can’t. The emperor is stark naked.

Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  WW

The media’s dereliction on this has been a scandal in itself. We will be taking the gloves off on that.

MikeH
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Rain hellfire down upon them, Mr. Glennon.

Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  MikeH

Funny you should say that. In trying to decide whether we should become more critical of the Illinois press, I have been asking around with various readers I know whether that’s needed or wise. I have made a point about asking moderates. To a person, they said we should. One, the most cautious and timid of all of them, said “bash their faces in.”

Chad Siewert
2 months ago
Reply to  WW

It is a lost cause to spend any time talking to a criminal government.

Joe The Plumber
2 months ago

Loons gonna loon. Covid Iotis

R.F. CRAIG
2 months ago

J.B. PRITZKER SHOULD BE HUNG BY HIS BB’S FOR OVER-REACTIVE FOR PURPOSE.

Christine
2 months ago

We knew from the beginning those with pre-existing conditions were most at risk of severe COVID-19.

What people need to understand is, that those underlying conditions they had, included hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. And 191 died of COVID-19 alone.

Consider this. 125 million Americans, half of the country, have a cardiovascular problem like hypertension or other. 35 million have diabetes. 24 million have autoimmune disease.

Nearly all of these people have jobs and have to return to work soon. Good workplace precautionary measures are necessary before we open up.

debtsor
2 months ago
Reply to  Christine

And the unhealthy need to stop smoking, lose weight and get some exercise.

bob Out of Here
2 months ago

Downloaded the data file from the medical examiner web site. See one where primary cause is dementia, primary cause a is hypertension but manner of death is listed as Covid. Seen similar with people who have OD’d on heroin or other opiates. The entire Covid death count is very suspicious.

Yoz
2 months ago

It’s been interesting to watch how Pritzker loyalists rebuke criticism about transparency, then talk about how great Pritzker is on transparency after he finally yields to criticism.

Yoz
2 months ago

Interesting paper on the level of herd immunity required if the coefficients of variation (CVs) for susceptibility and exposure are above one. Not peer-reviewed yet, but it notes that serological studies are necessary to estimate the CVs and to better guide public policy.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.27.20081893v1.full.pdf

thetruthwillsetyoufree
2 months ago

Open everything everywhere! Let the free markets do it’s thing. If you are fearful, it’s ok if so, then don’t go out till your comfortable or the business mitigates enough for you. For those of us not concerned let us go about our lives as we want. Doesnt mean we don’t show concern for the very worried! But we shud not have to lose our lives and livelyhoods because others are scare to death. You take care of you, I will back you but not stop my life. We have already done everlasting damage to the economy! Damage that harms… Read more »

r.f craig
2 months ago

AMEN. time to put our big boy, big girl pants on. Some people are going to die. sad, but true. the onus should be on the citizens.

Joe
2 months ago
Reply to  r.f craig

Businesses are allowed to operate right now under an altered set of rules. Let the free market decide which businesses adapt and survive the new covid landscape and stop whining about “reopening”. Pick yourself up by your boot straps and figure it out like a big boy.

The Truth Hurts
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe

“altered set of rules” and “free market” don’t exactly go together.

s and p 500
2 months ago

I heard that 1/3 of the Covid deaths were in senior nursing homes. Yesterday I was at a Wal-Mart in Calif. It was busy and very little social distancing was going on. I heard that Best-Buy is opening but you have to schedule an appointment and when you go to your store appointment some employee will follow you around. That sounds like fun.

Jamderson
2 months ago
Reply to  s and p 500

People still go to Best Buy?

debtsor
2 months ago
Reply to  Jamderson

Best Buy prior to the recession was actually doing quite well…it doesn’t have much brick and mortar competition left…i’ve seen bloggers post that prices are comparable if not better than Amazon and other online retailers.

Mark Durante
2 months ago

this corrupt governor ignores all the facts there’s no reason for us to have a shut down meantime will bring up businesses people left in the state of Illinois between death and people leaving this is going to look like a barren field in Chicago is no different we have two corrupt and intellectual leaders are totally destroying the state is there tyrannical powers that they do not have unfortunately the judges we haveDo not seem to be doing much. We the people have to do it on our own move forward Pritzker should be impeached

UnclePugsly
2 months ago

Thank you Wirepoints – Please keep shining the light on our corrupt Gov.

ConcernedExpat
2 months ago

I generally don’t pay attention to Elon Musk but he is now fostering serious discussion about the mobility of commerce in the U.S. given the conditions in California. I suspect we will see similar thoughts and discussions in Illinois from business owners and rightfully so. Why continue to be locked down for what could be potentially an indefinite period in IL when you can move your manufacturing to Indiana and pay less taxes to boot?

Jabba will reap what he sowes with this indefinite house arrest…

Mike Williams
2 months ago
Reply to  ConcernedExpat

Resistance to making a move often comes from a lack of clarity. Will things improve? Will they deteriorate? When it comes to Illinois, the answer is obvious. Also, I can only imagine what Illinois business leaders think of Gov. J.B. Pritzker leadership skills.

DantheMan
2 months ago

So now we know that the virus is no more harmful to healthy people that many other things that exist in our everyday lives. We also know that the farther you are from high density populations (like Chicago) the risk of encountering the virus is extremely low. Well managed states will process the latest data and reopen quickly but with caution. Their economies will bounce back. They bounced back after each prior historical crisis and there is no reason to think they won’t do so again. The Illinois private sector never bounced back from the last financial crisis of 2008.… Read more »

Richard Poo Millersky
2 months ago
Reply to  DantheMan

Are you better off today than four years ago? 😑

ConcernedExpat
2 months ago

Go troll somewhere else.

Richard Poo Millersky
2 months ago
Reply to  ConcernedExpat

I asked a serious question. 😑

DantheMan
2 months ago

Anyone with a diversified stock portfolio should be better off now than 4 years ago thanks to Trump. I know I am.

debtsor
2 months ago

Ironically, the death counts and death rates are highest in blue states. Typical Blue State mismanagement.

Richard Poo Millersky
2 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

Democrats control the worst looking communities, with politicians not knowing how to accomplish anything. No jobs, substandard housing, bad or closed schools, the list of ills is endless. Add COVID-19 to the list, Illinois is doomed. 😮

Keith Budinger
2 months ago
Reply to  DantheMan

Very good post. Thank you for opining. Private sector Oil & Gas Executive here. The avalanche effect is most likely unstoppable now. I have no axe to grind with government employees in Illinois. This is not personal it is Economics 101. Now the Illinois situation is national colleagues of mine asked about the pension deficit. When they heard the numbers their jaws dropped – the old adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ came into their minds. Even if I was snug & happy with my gold plated pension right now I would be very… Read more »

DantheMan
2 months ago
Reply to  Keith Budinger

A family illness also kept me in Illinois until the issue was resolved. After that I sold my home and vowed to never again put down roots anywhere in Illinois. I couldn’t stomach the ignorance of neighbors that were misled by one sided news, or sometimes fake news. They were nice people but voted the opposite of me. I knew we were both entrenched with our views and they outnumbered me and those like me. I saw no path to fiscal sanity given the circumstances. That was several years ago. So far, all my assumptions have been accurate. I don’t… Read more »

Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  DantheMan

Dan, I’ve had mostly neighbors like that in Illinois, too. But I have also had neighbors like Ted, my partner here. His dad was shot in the leg by the Nazis when he was a young man running as a messenger in the Polish army, and he later jumped off a merchant ship to escape communist Poland and find his way here. I can claim no such ancestry, but I guess I’ve always liked the Spartan motto — no prisoners and no retreats.

DantheMan
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

I believe that people which leave are actually doing more good for Illinois than those that stay. Those that stay support the liberal agenda with their taxes, whether they like it or not. Those that leave deny the liberals the taxes on which they feed.

One could also argue that holding your position as the enemy encircles you is just foolish.

debtsor
2 months ago
Reply to  Keith Budinger

I appreciate your opinion but staying in IL is not an existential fight like Churchill during the blitzkrieg. Trying to save IL is not a battle worth fighting anymore. IL is a progressives’ fantasyland – legal weed, infanticide everywhere, government control of everything, and only a facade of democracy, given that there is no real challenge to most incumbents in the legislature. IL democrats have everything exactly how they want it, and soon, it will collapse upon itself. And they will all have to clean up the mess too, and it won’t be pretty. You have to know when to… Read more »

Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

There is a larger struggle of which this is part. Maybe Keith’s comparison should have been to the British and French at Calais who volunteered the fight to the last man to cover the evacuation at Dunkirk.

Illinois Entrepreneur
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Respectfully, what is the larger struggle?

debtsor
2 months ago

Conservative vs. degenerate liberal. Thrift vs. spendthrift. Innocent babies’ lives vs. the infanticide industrial complex. Private business vs. government moochers and pilferers.

Deep in the Heart
2 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

Agreed, debtsor. Insurmountable situation. Greedy teacher/police/fire unions and the so-called progressives have achieved exactly what they wanted. They now have their utopia, which is unfortunately at the expense (both figuratively and literally) of the responsible and moral citizens.
Ask yourself, “If I move out of Illinois, in a year from now will I be pleased with my decision?” You got to know when to fold ’em.

DantheMan
2 months ago

Exactly. It’s best to leave the table while you still have a few chips.

Keith Budinger
2 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

“Never, never never ever give up” Churchill 29th October 1941.