During an appearance on Fox News on Thursday night, celebrity psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw made his case for reopening the U.S. economy even if it causes more Americans to die from COVID-19.
The Washington Post reports: After Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, explained the White House’s new guidelines for states to slowly reopen their economies in a three-phase process, Fox News host Laura Ingraham sought another opinion later in the show. She turned to Phil McGraw, better known as Dr. Phil, television psychologist to the masses. He acknowledged that the novel coronavirus is killing Americans — more than 33,000 as of early Friday — but also wondered why the economy would shut down over the pandemic but continues to function as people die from lung cancer, car crashes and pool drownings. “We don’t shut the country down for that,” said Dr. Phil, after he cited inaccurate statistics on accidental deaths. “Yet we are doing it for this and the fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are being destroyed.”
More from Mediaite: McGraw’s focus during his appearance was the long-term health health risks of extreme isolation, a subject that he claimed is “never” discussed during the public epidemiological assessments about the coronavirus threat. … But when McGraw pivoted to citing statistics supporting his argument, he both botched the data and made specious connections between well-established public health risks and a highly transmissible virus that has become the country’s number-one killer in the span of three months. “Two hundred and fifty people a year die from poverty,” McGraw incorrectly claimed, an absurdly low number that stands more than 1,000 times lower than a 2011 study that put the number closer to 300,000. “The poverty line is getting such that more and more people are going to fall below that because the economy is crashing around us. … The fact of the matter is we have people dying, 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents,” McGraw claimed, though the most recent CDC data for motor vehicle deaths puts the figure at 38,659, a yearly death toll that the coronavirus will easily surpass after having been in the U.S. population only since January. He then cited the absurdly high number of 360,000 for annual “swimming pool deaths” in the country. In fact, McGraw’s figure is roughly 100 times higher than the nation’s actual unintentional deaths from drowning figure, not all of which involve swimming pools.
Watch the full segment below.