His comments as a guest on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show The Ingraham Angle on Thursday triggered an online backlash. He told her, “The fact of the matter is we have 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 from swimming pools and we don’t shut the country down for that, and yet we are doing it for this, and the fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are going to be destroyed.”
On his daily live video chat on Friday, McGraw said he has made similar comments before but, “Now last night I said we as a society have chosen to live with certain controllable deadly risks every day. Smoking, auto crashes, swimming. And yes, I know that those are not contagious. So probably bad examples. And I refer to them as numbers of deaths that we apparently find acceptable because we do little or nothing about them. I get that they are not contagious, so they are probably not good examples.”
He also said that he misspoke about the number of deaths from drowning, but he was quoting the worldwide number.
He said that “whatever happens, we need to do it in a coordinated fashion. We need to do all of this together.” He said that people should follow the orders of governors who are making decisions on how to reopen the states, but that his focus has been on the psychological toll of the lockdowns.
“If in fact it turns out that we are going to need to be locked down for a long period of time, we really need to garner resources with that, to give them coping strategies they need, the support they need.
“I am not an infectious disease expert. I am not a microbiologist. I look at this from a human behavior psychological standpoint,” he said.
He also said that “sometimes people can say something and you jump on the message, and you forget about what the longterm message is. My longterm message is, let’s stick together as Americans, care about our neighbors.”
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