TV Doctors Under Fire For Coronavirus Comments

Published on April 17, 2020

Many are questioning the judgment of prominent TV doctors after several of the most famous talk-show medical men have made controversial comments about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Dr. Phil

The most recent comments are from controversial TV personality Dr. Phil, who appeared on Fox News to discuss COVID-19. During his appearance, Dr. Phil claimed that shutting the country down was a mistake, and cited statistics from various other kinds of accidental deaths. His point is that if we don’t shut down the country for swimming pool deaths, why should we do so for a coronavirus?

People are not responding well to Phil’s claims. Most critics are pointing out that he is not licensed to practice psychiatry or any other kind of medicine in any state in the union. He has a Ph.D. in psychology but is not a medical doctor. Others are wondering why a supposed psychologist would be asked to give thoughts on a viral outbreak.

Dr. Oz

Dr. Phil is the most recent to come under fire, but he’s not the only one. Dr. Mehmet Oz, a heart surgeon and television host, also made an appearance on Fox News that ruffled some feathers.

Dr. Oz told Sean Hannity, “I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing that the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality. You know, that’s — 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 the theoretical risk on the backside, it might be a trade-off some folks would consider.”

Oz later apologized for his comments after viewers criticized his cavalier attitude towards potential loss of life. Like Dr. Phil, Oz is no stranger to controversy. He has been accused in the past of pushing unproven products that could potentially be harmful. Unlike Dr. Phil, however, Dr. Oz is an actual medical doctor.

Dr. Drew

Dr. Drew recently faced backlash on Twitter after someone put together a video of various appearances he made downplaying the seriousness of the virus. Dr. Drew repeatedly claims that the chances of dying from coronavirus are less than the flu, and criticizes the press for inducing panic about the virus.

Dr. Drew later apologized for these remarks, saying he did not understand the ferocity of the illness, proving that just because someone has “Dr.” in front of their name does not mean they know anything about epidemiology. Dr. Drew does, in fact, have an MD, although he specializes in addiction medicine.

While most credible medical officials are urging caution in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, these “doctors” are preaching the opposite. These comments call into question how much faith viewers should have in the medical opinions of TV doctors.

The ill-informed comments made by those trusted by the public shine a light on the importance of doing your own research from reliable, serious sources. During these times of misinformation, television personalities can no longer be trusted to tell us what we need to know. TV doctors are great for entertainment, but not so great for actual medical advice.

Olivia Smith is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers events, entertainment, fashion, and technology. She also serves as a Voices contributor at PopSugar.

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