Dr. Phil Apologizes for Controversial Coronavirus Comments

April 18, 2020
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Dr. Phil McGraw is backtracking after being chastised for downplaying the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, the 69-year-old suffered backlash as many thought he was minimizing the death toll due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

"The fact of the matter is we have people dying, 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 a year from swimming pools, but we don’t shut the country down for that,” he said during an appearance on “The Ingraham Angle.” “But yet we’re doing it for this? And the fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are being destroyed."

After trending on social media for his words, the television doctor tried to clarify his comments in a Facebook Live on Friday.

"What I believe, regardless of what I may have come across as saying, is we need widespread testing and continued protection of the high risk portion of the population," McGraw said. "Last night I said we as a society have chosen to live with certain controllable deadly risk everyday, smoking, auto crashes, swimming and yes I know that those are not contagious, so probably bad examples."

He added: “I am not an infectious disease expert. I am not a microbiologist. I look at this from a human-behavior psychological standpoint.”

“I’m concerned that the deterioration of the mental and physical health can be substantial from enduring prolonged quarantine while also worrying about being infected with a dreaded virus in the midst of a crashing economy, lost jobs and an inability to even feed your family,” Dr. Phil continued.

“I have said that depression, anxiety, loneliness and a feeling of helplessness among other things can create problems that can last for years and cost lives and that just should not be ignored. And therefore, we need to be looking to safely, responsibly follow the science and get back to our lives as soon as possible.”

"If you didn't like my choice of words, I apologize for that," McGraw admitted "Know this, I'm concerned about you, that's my number one concern here."

Dr. Phil’s statement comes after fellow TV personality Dr. Oz confessed he "misspoke" for his questionable comments where he appeared to advocate for the opening of schools despite a tradeoff of “2% to 3%, in terms of total mortality."

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