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Dr. Phil McGraw appeared to cave into the backlash over his argument for reopening the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The reality television host attempted to clarify his remarks during a livestream video message on Friday, addressing an appearance he made on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” in which he advocated for reopening the country.
(Source: Dr. Phil/YouTube)
McGraw reiterated his concerns about the effects on mental and emotional health from a “prolonged quarantine” due to COVID-19, pointing to fears about contracting the virus and “the inability to feed your family” due to the economic shutdown.
But he contended that he gave “bad examples” when he appeared on Fox News which have resulted in a wave of backlash.
“There’s a point at which people start having enough problems in lockdown that it will actually create actually more destruction and actually more death across time than the actual virus will itself,” he told Ingraham one day before his video message.
Leftists fume when Dr Phil warns mental toll, fallout from lockdown could be worse than the virus https://t.co/gqUNdS3y5f
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 17, 2020
McGraw, who holds a doctorate in psychology, had made the point that lockdowns have never been ordered due to the number of deaths caused by cigarettes, auto accidents and swimming pool accidents.
“I wanna say, I don’t mean that we need to just run back out there and start pretending that nothing has ever happened. I don’t mean that at all,” McGraw explained in his video Friday.
“I have also said dozens of times that Robin and I 100 percent support the CDC guidelines of quarantine and have been following them: sheltering at home and maintaining social distancing guidelines,” he added, referring to his wife.
“I have said 100 percent I support that we shut the country down to protect what is perhaps a small percentage of those for whom this virus is most dangerous,” McGraw continued.
“Last night I said we as a society have chosen to live with certain controllable deadly risks every day: smoking, auto crashes, swimming. And yes, I know that those are not contagious, so probably bad examples,” he explained.
“I probably could have used better examples about that, and by the way, I misspoke about drowning deaths. I quoted a worldwide number, not a US number,” he went on, before telling his viewers to “listen to your state governors, as I’m going to do — that you abide by their rules to stay at home until we are all happily united healthily and back with our loved ones, families, friends, and co-workers and can return to lives as we knew it, but even better and stronger.”
McGraw doubled down on his belief that prolonged isolation and lockdowns will lead to greater mental health challenges for people.
“I don’t want to ignore the fact that if we stayed locked down, that we need to pay attention to the fact that depression sets in, loneliness sets in, and that begins to erode our mental and our physical health,” he warned. “And if, in fact, it turns out that we’re going to have to be locked down for a long period of time, we need to really garner resources to help people with that. To give them the coping strategies they need, the help they need, the support they need.”
“If I offended people’s sensibilities last night with my examples, then erase those,” he said in conclusion. “And just hear my message.”
McGraw’s attempt to clarify his remarks came as heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz took to Twitter to apologize for comments he made about reopening the economy in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. With the left bent on lambasting anyone who agrees with President Trump about getting American back to work, Oz came under heavy fire after he talked about ways to get “our mojo back” and mentioned the benefit of schools resuming.
Oz caved to the backlash and said he “misspoke” during his “Hannity” appearance.
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
“We know for many kids school is a place of security, nutrition and learning that is missing right now,” he said, explaining that “one of the important steps will be figuring out how to get our children safely back to school.”
“These are issues that we are all wrestling with and I’ll continue to look for solutions to beat this virus,” Oz said.
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