Fox News medical contributor Nicole Saphier - a radiologist - took her role-playing as an infectious disease specialist to another low when she recommended viewers “move forward” and let COVID’s new omicron variation spread unchecked.
Real infectious disease specialists are still trying to determine the severity of the omicron variation. The New York Times noted that even a milder infection “could still sicken enough people to overwhelm health care systems, some of which are already struggling to manage a surge of Delta cases.”
But that didn’t stop Sloan Kettering radiologist Saphier from urging people to just get sick.
SAPHIER: Well, Bill, you know I honestly think that it’s time for us to change our mindset when we’re looking at COVID-19. We need to allow this virus, this pandemic, to turn into an endemic, meaning that the virus is going to be with us. Getting to COVID zero, or zero COVID cases is certainly not reasonable. It’s not reality any more.
So yes, there are rising cases right now because this is a seasonable respiratory virus in the United States. … Just like we’re seeing with Influenza A, just like we see with RSV, other respiratory seasonal viruses.
Radiologist Saphier even acknowledged that the severity of the omicron variant is still unknown.
SAPHIER: And the thing with omicron is – and by the way, this is all still preliminary, but a good amount of data is coming out of South Africa that the people who are being infected with this variant are reporting more mild cases. They’re seeing cases in vaccinated as well as unvaccinated people. But the good news is, in both of those groups, they’re reporting more mild cases and also a quicker recovery.
So while we are going to see rising cases throughout these winter months, the good news is it doesn’t seem that there’s going to be an equal spike in hospitalizations.
Now, we are going to see a rise in hospitalizations in the winter because we do. The more cases you have, the more people that will be hospitalized. But this is predominantly an unvaccinated individuals and those who are vulnerable, including those over the age of 70 and with comorbidities.
After opining about transmission on planes, schools and in homes, radiologist Saphier criticized “a lot of these mandates” as “knee-jerk” and “not actually doing much to decrease the transmission.”
Actually, vaccine mandates are working to increase vaccinations, something even radiologist Saphier had just acknowledged helps prevent hospitalizations. Furthermore real public health experts experts recommend mask mandates, too. Given that radiologist Saphier whined that Obamacare overburdened the health care system and caused a drop in life expectancy because too many people got health insurance, you’d think she’d care about COVID further burdening a health care system already overburdened by the pandemic.
On the other hand, radiologist Saphier is the same Fox “medical expert” who suggested hospitals should start taking COVID patients off ventilators and making them “survive or die.”
Neither of the two Fox anchors challenged a word from radiologist Saphier. On the contrary, co-anchor Bill Hemmer declared that it “seems” the virus is causing fewer severe cases and will soon be “dying out.”
Radiologist Saphier grinned at the validation and doubled down on her “just get sick” prescription:
SAPHIER: As we have now moved into an era where we have vaccines, we have boosters, we have treatments, and we have a large amount of natural immunity in our country, we should be able to move forward allowing the fact that this virus is causing very mild illness in people who are vaccinated and younger populations, including those people who have become boosted.
There will always be people who are vulnerable to this virus, just like every year we see people vulnerable to flu and other causes of pneumonia. We need to continue to protect them. But for the rest of society, it is time to move forward. We have never required a vaccine to prevent the sniffles. People at this point have access to affordable vaccines that can reduce their risk of severe illness, and they can get boosted at this point if they want to, to even further reduce their very low risk of severe illness. At this point, it is time to move forward and allow this mild infection to circulate so we can continue to build that hybrid immunity, the combination of vaccine-induced and natural immunity, which has proven to be the most robust form of immunity that will continue to build that wall of protection.
As my Crooks and Liars colleague noted, putting an elegant but unqualified doctor on the air to pooh-pooh active measures against COVID when 800,000 have died and the epidemic is not over is a political-propaganda decision by Fox. And while I was writing this post, news broke that New York State reported the highest daily total of COVID cases of the pandemic.
Political propaganda is what we expect from Fox. But what about Sloan Kettering?
You can watch radiologist Saphier play a public health expert on TV below, from the December 15, 2021 America’s Newsroom, via Media Matters.
The selfish idea of allowing COVID to spread ignores the reality of overwhelmed hospitals and morgues, burned out care workers, the disabling effects of long COVID and long-term ventilator use and the trauma of massive deaths on society. These people are cold-hearted Psychopaths. discouraging vaccines and encouraging transmission, even a radiologist and pretty-faced opinion hosts know this is a prescription for death.
Without all the fluff, she’s in favour of protecting the vulnerable and she admits that the vaccines are affordable and effective. Why smother those truths under a heartless let-the-virus-rip message.
What is it with radiologists in the USA being so anxious to pontificate on matters outside their own field?