During an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Tuesday night, Dr. Mehmet Oz said some people might consider a “tradeoff” in the form of a 2-3% mortality rate in exchange for reopening American schools. He apologized Thursday.
“Let’s start with things that are really critical to the nation where we think we might be able to open without getting into a lot of trouble. I tell ya, 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% in terms of total mortality,” he said after advising that America needs its “mojo back.”
The frequent Fox News guest went on, “Any life is a life lost, 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 tradeoff some folks would consider.”
The Lancet, a journal dedicated to child and adolescent health, published on the subject April 8, noting, “188 countries have implemented country-wide school closures, but a modelling study by Ferguson and colleagues concluded that in the U.K., school closures alone will reduce COVID-19 deaths by only 2-4%.”
Oz’s ideas aren’t unheard of as the American economy endures weeks of decline amid coronavirus-related shutdowns. President Donald Trump expressed an interest in March in reopening the economy by Easter, which came and went last weekend with no success on that front.
Also in March, Fox News’ Brit Hume defended comments from Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, agreeing it is “entirely reasonable” that elderly Americans could be fine with dying amid the coronavirus outbreak to save the U.S. economy.
Oz apologized via a video posted to Twitter Thursday. He wrote along with it, “I’ve realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention. I misspoke.”
See the exchange between Oz and Hannity below.
DR OZ: "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%, in terms of total mortality. Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but … that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider." ???? pic.twitter.com/aifMeKTsIv
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 16, 2020