‘I tell you, schools are a very appetizing opportunity. I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3 percent, in terms of total mortality.’
That was Dr. Mehmet Oz speaking to Sean Hannity of Fox News on Tuesday about how getting students back into schools could help America get its “mojo back.”
And he got earful on social media from viewers who have interpreted Oprah Winfrey’s old pal as saying that up to 3% of children dying is an acceptable trade-off for reopening schools — although that isn’t exactly what he said.
This led “Only 2-3%,” “Dr. Oz” and “Lancet” to trend on Twitter
And the backlash was so furious that it led Oz to tweet out a mea culpa later on Thursday. “I’ve realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention. I misspoke,” he said.
The April 8 Lancet article he was referring to reported that, “Recent modeling studies of COVID-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2-4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions.” That’s overall public deaths, not children’s deaths — still a tragedy, of course, and translating to thousands of American lives lost. That includes parents and children, friends and family. At least 138,487 people have already died from the coronavirus worldwide, including more than 30,000 in the U.S.
And while Oz conceded in his original comments that, “any life is a life lost,” his remarks about the “trade-off” in reopening schools at the risk of exposing more people to the coronavirus still struck many as some pretty insensitive math. What’s more, the Lancet paper also concluded that while school closures alone may prevent 2% to 4% of deaths, “combinations of social distancing measures should be considered.”
‘But to get every child back into a school where they’re safely being educated, being fed and making the most out of their lives with a theoretical risk on the backside, that might be a trade-off some folks would consider.’
Oz is part of a chorus calling for a reopening of the American economy as soon as possible, even as the government reported Thursday that another 5.25 million Americans applied for unemployment in the second week of April, bringing jobless claims to 22 million in the past month. The COVID-19 pandemic has erased almost all the 23 million jobs created since the Great Recession.
Fellow “Oprah Winfrey Show” alum Phil “Dr. Phil” McGraw also drew backlash on Thursday night for downplaying coronavirus by comparing the COVID-19 death toll to the annual number of deaths from car accidents and swimming pools.
Read more:Dr. Phil’s argument for reopening the economy: ‘We don’t shut down the country’ for car accidents and swimming pool deaths
President Trump was preparing to announce guidelines for states to follow on reopening their economies on Thursday, after telling reporters on Wednesday that data “suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases.”
Read more of MarketWatch’s coronavirus coverage here.
View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/dr-oz-slammed-for-suggesting-it-may-only-cost-us-2-to-3-of-american-lives-to-reopen-schools-2020-04-16