After facing backlash, Dr. Mehmet Oz backtracked his comments about the “appetizing” idea of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention,” the Dr. Oz Show host, 59, said in a video message posted on his Twitter page on Thursday, April 16. “I misspoke.”
He continued, “As a heart surgeon, I spent my career fighting to save lives in the operating room by minimizing risks. At the same time, I’m being asked constantly, ‘How will we be able to get people back to their normal lives?’ To do that, one of the important steps will be figuring how do we get our children safely back to school. We know for many kids, school is place of security, nutrition and learning that is missing right now. These are issues we are all wrestling with, and I will continue looking for solutions to beat this virus.”
Oz came under fire earlier in the week after he said during an interview that the U.S. needs to get its “mojo back” amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“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,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “I tell you, 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 percent in terms of total mortality. And, you know, 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.”
The cardiothoracic surgeon — whom President Donald Trump appointed to a Department of Health and Human Services council on sports, fitness and nutrition in 2018 — is not the first celebrity to raise eyebrows with remarks about the novel coronavirus.
Vanessa Hudgens sparked controversy in March when she called COVID-19 fatalities “inevitable,” while Roseanne Barr suggested in April that the disease is a ploy to “get rid of” her generation of baby boomers. Ellen DeGeneres, meanwhile, recently faced backlash for joking that being quarantined at her $27 million mansion “is like being in jail.”
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