Dr. Oz backpedals amid backlash over reopening schools comments

In a Twitter post late Thursday, the heart surgeon and television talk show host said he recognized his comments had confused and upset people, and that was never his intention

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Dr. Mehmet Oz arrives at the 14th annual L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Gala in New York in 2019.

Dr. Mehmet Oz arrives at the 14th annual L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Gala in New York in 2019.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

NEW YORK — Television’s “Dr. Oz” Mehmet says he misspoke during a Fox News Channel appearance this week where he said reopening schools was a “very appetizing opportunity” despite the coronavirus epidemic.

In a Twitter post late Thursday, the heart surgeon and television talk show host said he recognized his comments had confused and upset people, and that was never his intention.

Oz was talking with Fox’s Sean Hannity on Tuesday about ways to get “our mojo back” during the epidemic and mentioned schools, which are largely closed across the United States.

“I just saw a nice piece in the Lancet arguing that the opening of schools may only cost us 2% to 3% in terms of total mortality,” he said.

“You know, any life is a life lost, but to get every child back into school where they are being safely educated, being fed and making the most out of their lives with the theoretical risk on the backside might be a trade-off some folks would consider,” he said.

It’s not clear exactly what he was trying to say — if he meant that a certain number of deaths was worth the benefit of schools resuming — and a representative was not immediately available to clarify on Friday.

While not a staff member at Fox News, Oz has made frequent appearances on the network since the beginning of the outbreak.

In his Twitter message, he said that he’s spent his career fighting to save lives by minimizing risk. But he’s constantly being asked how people can get back to their normal lives.

“To do that, one of the important steps will be figuring out how to get our children safely back to school,” he said. “We know for many kids school is a place of security, nutrition and learning that is missing right now.

“These are issues that we are all wrestling with and I’ll continue to look for solutions to beat this virus,” he said.

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