While Hannity claimed, “I want to make sure Americans are safe,” he seemed at least as interested in spreading the message, “The vast, overwhelming majority of people, even if they were to contract this virus, will end up being fine.” Then he disregarded comments his guest, Dr. Mehmet Oz, provided in caution.
Oz, a Republican donor with a dubious medical record, has also been described as an operator who puts his business interests above science. But even he would not go where Hannity tried to push him with his happy coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak talk.
HANNITY: [T]ell me if I am wrong on any fact here. Is it true that this virus - if you don't have underlying health issues and you don't have a compromised immune system, and you're not above 60, the odds of you dying are dramatically, like, negligible? Is that -- is that a true statement?
OZ: Well, I think the risk of dying is unclear just because we haven't been able to study it in this country. What we do know is that in China, it was a problem. But we've also learned, I just got this data before walking out here to do your show, from the Korean CDC, that the mortality numbers in young, otherwise healthy people is very similar to what the traditional everyday, year seasonal flu virus is.
So, we have lost already 20,000, 30,000 people. It's hard to tell sometimes because people die from related causes from the flu. And so, if you are equating to that and young age groups, certainly, it's comparable, and if you haven't gotten the flu shot then you shouldn't be that worried about this either.
Nevertheless, Oz went on to flatter Hannity as “a student of human motivation” who seemingly understands that the public is over-reacting:
OZ: But you pointed out something earlier I want to highlight. You’re a student of human motivation, what is it that’s scaring people? And I think deep in our psyche, there is this fear about viruses and things we don't see because human species has been attacked by viruses and bacteria for all of known history. So people are sort of inclined to worry about it and then if you feed that concern -- that potential hysteria, like data we had from the Chinese CDC with that three and a half percent mortality rate, which is still what the World Health Organization is reporting, concerning the mortality figure, then, of course, you're going to get worried.
To your point, once you're over the age of 60 - and the surgeon general is coming on my show tomorrow for a broader discussion - but once you get over the age of 60, the numbers do increase a bit. But you’re still pretty well off if you don't have a chronic illness, like cardiovascular disease, if you don't have an issue with diabetes or cancer or pulmonary problems.
But Hannity suggested he knew better.
HANNITY: All right. So, compromised immune systems, that certainly is a big factor. Age seems to be a big factor. I think I might be reading different numbers than you are in South Korea. I’d rather not split hairs here.
But I want to make sure Americans are safe. The vast, overwhelming majority of people, even if they were to contract this virus, will end up being fine. We've got to be really concerned about the elderly. We've got to really be concerned apparently people with high blood pressure that are elderly and people with compromised immune systems. And then short of that, your advice would be, I'm sure, take all the precautions, use the Purell.
You can watch Hannity play a public health expert on TV below, from the March 9, 2020 Hannity.
Ode to Sean Hannity
by John Cleese
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Fox Noise insanity
You’re a profanity