Remarks made by Dr. Mehmet Oz regarding the coronavirus shutdown have sparked some severe scrutiny and confusion with the public. The host of The Dr. Oz Show appeared on Fox News Wednesday night with Sean Hannity. and was asked what he believed were the best practices to reopen certain businesses and institutions while still being cautious regarding the pandemic. While he's previously offered helpful advice on how to navigate the pandemic, his suggestion that a "two to three percent" fatality rate would be worth bringing back public schools prompted quite the response.
"First, we need our mojo back," Oz said in the clip. "Let's start with things that are really critical to the nation, that we think we might be able to open without getting into trouble. 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 two to three percent, in terms of total mortality. Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but to get every child 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 tradeoff some folks would consider."
I’ve realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention. I misspoke. pic.twitter.com/Kq1utwiCjR— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) April 16, 2020
After the outrage, Oz posted a response Thursday evening on Twitter to explain the comments and note that he "misspoke" during his Fox News appearance. He also adds that he's being asked constantly about getting the U.S. back to normalcy, something that he wanted to drive home during his initial comments before the controversy.
Aside from the perceived callousness of Oz's remarks, Twitter erupted with critiques pointing out that he obtained a degree in medicine. Which could mean that remarks like the one he made on Thursday a violation of his Hippocratic oath.
Dr. Oz is a danger to public health. There's no other way to put it.— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 16, 2020
"I cannot imagine anything more deadly than listening to the advice of [Dr. Oz] - these medical hacks-for-hire represent television at its worst. Keep in mind, when people like him suggest reopening the schools, he's assuming the 2-3% of children who'll die are yours, not his," one critic wrote on social media.
STOP 👏🏻GIVING 👏🏻AIRTIME 👏🏻TO👏🏻DR. 👏🏻OZ
The man is an actual greed monster who doesn't care about scientific facts or human lives. You would literally be better off listening to my mom's friend who thinks vinegar cures Covid-19 because Facebook said so. #truth #covid19 #DrOz— Erin Pepler (@erinpepler) April 16, 2020
#DrOz's Hippocratic Oath said it's ok to do "Only 2-3%" harm --to children.
Do it for the economy!— 𝔸ℝ 🤓 (@Real_A_R) April 16, 2020
Currently, the social distancing guidelines that have prompted the widespread business closure are in place until April. Given that millions of people have already filed for unemployment in the U.S., additional aid packages are currently being discussed in Congress. Oz closed his follow-up statement that he is committed to looking for solutions to defeat the virus.