Fatal cardiac arrests among young Americans are still at normal levels despite claims that Covid vaccines are driving a spike in cases.
Elon Musk became the latest high-profile celebrity to fuel the idea the shots are triggering heart problems this week when he weighed into news that LeBron James’ 18-year-old son suffered a cardiac arrest while playing basketball, an extremely rare event for people in his age group and physical condition.
Musk wrote on his ‘X’ social media platform: ‘We cannot ascribe everything to the vaccine, but, by the same token, we cannot ascribe nothing. Myocarditis is a known side-effect. The only question is whether it is rare or common.’
A conspiracy has emerged in the past few years that the Covid vaccines are causing a spike in cardiac issues in healthy young people at a population level.
But data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows cardiac deaths among Americans under the age of 34 are similar to pre-pandemic levels.
The above graph shows cardiac arrest fatalities among under-34s for every year since 2000. This is from the CDC Wonder database. Data for 2021 and 2022 is provisional
Elon Musk sparked controversy after posting a tweet suggesting the Covid vaccine may be involved in Bronny James’ cardiac arrest
The 18-year-old is said to now be in stable condition after being rushed to hospital Monday (Pictured: Bronny James at a basketball game in Sierra Canyon, Los Angeles, in January)
Vaccines have been linked to a very small risk of myocarditis in young people, affecting about one in 30,000 under-40s after their second jab.
But cases are normally mild and resolve on their own without the need for any medical intervention.
A Covid infection is also more likely to trigger myocarditis than the vaccines, studies show.
In 2020, data from the CDC showed there were 240 deaths from cardiac arrests among youngsters under 34 years old.
They calculated a rate of about 0.16 deaths per 100,000 people in the age group based on this, with confidence intervals — or the range — of 0.14 to 0.18.
In 2021, there were 284 deaths giving a rate of 0.19 per 100,000 with a range of 0.16 to 0.21.
The intervals overlap, which suggests there is no significant difference between 2020 and 2021 and that the variation is down to natural shifts that occur every year.
The number of deaths from cardiac arrests fell again in 2022 to 244 recorded — or a rate of 0.16 per 100,000. The range — 0.14 to 0.18 — also overlapped with 2021.
The CDC figures reveal the number of fatal cardiac arrests suffered by people under 34 years old over the last two decades.
There was a rise in figures in 2021, but doctors told DailyMail.com that Covid itself was more likely to cause heart problems, plus hospitals went down to reduced capacity to cope with the surge — further impacting figures.
Experts also said that the spike in 2021 was not significant because there was also an ‘uptick’ in 2006 — which had no known cause.
Dr Luis Ostrosky, an infectious diseases specialist at UTHealth in Texas, told DailyMail.com: ‘The overlap in the error bars indicates that [the rise in 2021] is most likely not significant and if you look back it looks like there was also a peak in 2006.
‘It is now back to what it was in 2020 and, again, that is probably not a statistically significant drop — it is just normal variation.’
Asked about the uptick back in 2006, he said there was ‘no particular event’ that appeared to be driving the rise. He added: ‘It is quite possibly just natural variation.’
Dr Deepak Bhatt, a top cardiologist at Mount Sinai, said there was no sign of an uptick in cardiac arrests among youngsters.
‘There hasn’t really been a substantive change over time in these events,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘What may have changed is our knowledge and coverage of it.
Dr Deepak Bhatt, a top cardiologist at Mount Sinai Heart in New York City, told DailyMail.com that changes in the data were likely down to natural variation. Dr Luis Ostrosky, an infectious diseases specialist at UTHealth in Texas, said the shifts were down to natural variation
‘If you go back 30 to 40 years, an event like this would have been devastating for the community but it would have been unlikely that this was carried round the world.
‘That is not the case now which is why there is a perception that cases are increasing. But there is little evidence to support this.’
He added: ‘You look at the data in 2000 and 2001 and, if anything, the rates are a little higher than they are in 2020 and 2021.
‘I don’t think there is a clear pattern here in terms of the numbers that are down to the pandemic and vaccinations.’
Doctors at the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation say 90 percent of cardiac arrests that happen outside of hospital — where most occur — are fatal.
The floodgates opened on speculation as to whether Bronny’s cardiac arrest was caused by the Covid vaccine following a tweet by Elon Musk.
Reports said that the 18-year-old was rushed to hospital on Monday after suffering the attack during basketball practice in Los Angeles but that he is now in stable condition.
Myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle — which can lead to cardiac arrest is a known, although rare, side effect of the Covid vaccine. It is also a possible effect of being infected with Covid.
But researchers point out that in the rare cases where it does occur, the side effect is mild and goes away on its own.
About 18,000 Americans die from cardiac arrests annually — which can be triggered by conditions like Myocarditis.
Critics have slammed Elon Musk (pictured in Paris last month) for wading in on Bronny James’ health crisis, accusing him of being ‘addicted’ to attention after he suggested the basketballer’s cardiac arrest was linked to the Covid vaccine
LeBron James’s son, Bronny, has suffered a cardiac arrest during a basketball workout. Pictured: The 18-year-old posed with his rumored girlfriend Peyton Gelfuso, 19, in May
Bronny, who recently committed to the Trojans, was rushed to hospital in an ambulance after a 911 call was made at 9.26am Monday.
The incident is believed to have been a Code 3, which signifies the seriousness of the call as it requires ambulance lights and sirens.
His father LeBron is ‘making sure he gets the best care possible’ and has entered ‘full Dad mode and is protecting his son in any way he can,’ a source told DailyMail.com.
Cardiologists have warned that Bronny’s career – which was only just beginning following his high school graduation – could already be over.
A source close to the Jameses told DailyMail.com: ‘LeBron is keeping things as close to himself and his family as possible but is also keeping others like his agents and main people in the Lakers organization privy to what is going on.
‘He is scared and devastated with what has transpired with his son. The family is making sure he gets the best care possible as his well-being is the most important thing right now.
‘LeBron has no other feelings besides making sure his son will be OK. LeBron’s only focus is devoted to Bronny’s recovery. It is going to be the only thing on his mind, he is in full dad mode and protecting his son in any way he can do that.’
The University of Southern California (USC) says Covid vaccines are ‘strongly encouraged’ for student athletes — although they are not a requirement.
His father, LeBron James, has previously raised his own reservations about getting the shot.
In May 2021, the Lakers star repeatedly evaded questions about whether or not he had got the inoculation. But about three months later he then revealed that he had had a change of heart and had got vaccinated.
At the time, he said: ‘I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family.
‘I know that I was very skeptical about it all, but after doing my research and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and my friends, and that’s why I decided to do it.’
Slamming Musk’s comments, one X user commented: ‘Elon Musk appears to be claiming without a shred of evidence that Bronny James’s cardiac arrest is linked to the Covid vaccine.’
Another said: ‘Elon Musk is replying to tweets about Bronny with conspiracies about the vaccine. The James family is already going through a tremendously difficult moment and now the owner of this website is helping direct the crazies at them.’
There were previous concerns over the Covid vaccine causing inflammation in the heart muscle.
But Dr Stuart Fischer, an emergency medicine doctor in New York City, added to this website that these would only be expected in the days after vaccination — if linked to the vaccine.
The CDC began rolling out the Covid vaccine for adults in December 2020, approving the shot for youngsters aged 16 to 17 years old that same month.
To date, more than 270million Americans — or eight in ten people — have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.
A total of 230million — or seven in ten — have got two doses, while 56million — or one in five — also came forward for a booster dose.
WHAT IS MYOCARDITIS?
Myocarditis is an uncommon disorder. Most of the time, it is caused by an infection that reaches the heart
Myocarditis is heart inflammation caused by a viral infection, such as COVID-19.
In severe cases, the inflammation can weaken the heart, cause an abnormal heartbeat, or even lead to death.
Symptoms typically include chest pain or shortness of breath.
Patients can treat the condition with medication aimed at regulating heartbeat and improving heart function. Some rare cases have required patients to have a device implanted in their heart to regulate heartbeat.
Myocarditis is a mild, temporary condition in the vast majority of cases, experts say.
Heart inflammation is uncommon in pro athletes who’ve had a mild COVID-19 infection and most don’t need to be sidelined, according to a 2021 study conducted by major professional sports leagues.
This illustration shows normal heart muscle compared to inflamed heart muscle due
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