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Dr. Phil Says He Used ‘Bad Examples’ Comparing Coronavirus to Smoking, Pool Deaths

On Thursday night, Dr. Phil compared the coronavirus to drowning in pools, earning serious blowback

Dr. Phil McGraw spoke out Friday after receiving backlash against his Thursday comments dismissing the coronavirus response in America, which has involved the widespread, temporary shuttering of businesses as most Americans stay locked down in their homes.

During a livestream, he said, “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. And I refer to them as numbers of deaths that we apparently find acceptable because we do little or nothing about them. I get that they are not contagious, so they are probably not good examples.”

During an appearance on Thursday night’s “The Ingraham Angle,” McGraw, who is not a medical doctor but holds a PhD in psychology, downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, comparing the death toll (inaccurately) to swimming pool-related deaths, among other things.

He was roundly criticized, with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough dedicated a chunk of Friday’s “Morning Joe” to calling out “the stupidity of that.” McGraw’s name trended on Twitter Thursday night into Friday afternoon.

During his livestream, McGraw insisted his message is one of unity and added, “I am not an infectious disease expert. I am not a microbiologist. I look at this from a human-behavior psychological standpoint.”