Dr. Mehmet Oz is a television quack. He’s been busted for pushing dietary supplements he was making profits off of as medical “miracles.” They weren’t. He was using his perceived medical expertise to generate profits for himself at the expense of everyone else. Dr. Oz has taken this show on the road to Fox News and the right-wing sulfursphere. Donald Trump has used him to televise a dubious medical health review of the president’s fast-food laden body. Dr. Oz has added whatever passes for credence by pretending he could perform some kind of Twitter-collected scientific study of anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine has any benefits if taken by people who come into contact with COVID-19.
In general, calling Dr. Oz a doctor is like calling me an air force pilot. I mean, I’ve been in a plane before, amiright? On Wednesday, with the Trump administration pushing to “reopen” major cities, the Fox News team set about working on creating propaganda that would try and further smooth over the already-dulled senses of the Fox News viewer. Sean Hannity brought on the scary doctor to discuss how we might get back to business as usual across this great land of ours.
Dr. Oz has released an I’m sorry you were confused by what I said “apology.” It’s some weak sauce that doesn’t explain what he thinks he is supposed to be doing or what he believes his position in the public should mean. But, make no mistake, his logo will be emblazoned behind him, every time you see him speak to you as a guy who plays a doctor on TV. Mostly to confirm the conservative movement’s anti-science and medicine opinions.
The television doctor explained that he sort of read a thing that sounded terrible but he doesn’t understand numbers and so there’s that. Sounding like a true sociopath, Dr. Oz explained how getting our kids back into school so that parents can get back to work might be exactly what this quack doctor thinks needs to be ordered. Hannity gave a nice overwrought throw to Oz, asking the discredited TV doctor to “help us.”
DR. MEHMET OZ: “Well, first, we need our mojo back.”
DR. OZ: “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 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% in terms of total mortality. You know, any life is a life lost, but to get every child back into school where they’re being safely educated, and fed, and making the most out of their lives—with the theoretical risk on the backside—that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider.”
It’s hard to know what Dr. Oz is even talking about. He might be referring to this study that reports that, without any other interventions, just closing schools alone would prevent “2-4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions.” The conclusion of that study is that we need even more social distancing practices, not less.
But, Dr. Oz said his bright idea would only result in 2% to 3% mortality. Let’s take him at his misinformed word and the logic of his own statement. As CNN anchor Jack Tapper pointed out, Dr. Oz’s grasp of numbers is seemingly as bad as his grasp of medicine. “A mortality rate of 2-3% of 328,200,000 Americans is 6,564,000 to 9,846,000 dead Americans.” Yup. And when only 5 million Americans die, Trump and his pals can say they did a great job?
But maybe the comic book Halloween mad scientist doctor means just schoolchildren? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “about 56.6 million students will attend elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States.” Doing some quick math—carry the one—that would mean Dr. Oz, Trump, and fiends feel that between 1,132,000 and 1,698,000 dead school age kids is “a very appetizing opportunity.”
And here’s Dr. Oz’s non-apology … apology.