If there is one unprecedented side effect of imposed isolation, it’s the specific boredom that causes celebrities to go out of their way to share their more off-base opinions, especially when it comes to the seriousness of COVID-19. Former psychologist-slash-currently unlicensed TV host Phil McGraw—known by his audience as “Dr. Phil”—appeared on Fox News on Thursday to chat with Laura Ingraham. Seemingly healthy and from the safety of his presumed home, McGraw took the opportunity to speak against the social distancing measures mandated by the government, including the temporary closure of certain businesses and the calls to shelter in place.
“The economy is crashing around us and they’re doing that because people are dying because of coronavirus, I get that,” he said. “The fact of the matter is... 45,000 people a year die form automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 from swimming pools, but we don’t shut the country down for that. But yet we’re shutting it down for this?” He also expressed his concerns regarding the ways these measures will impact the economy, citing that the effects will last for years because “people’s lives are being destroyed.”
Many have criticized McGraw for the comparison, pointing out that someone with a doctorate should definitely know the difference between a deadly, highly contagious virus and, you know, total accidents.
“Dr.” Phil is the latest in a string of celebrity doctors who have voluntarily risked their credibility in public. Dr. Mehmet Oz, or Dr. Oz, recently apologized for suggesting that schools should reopen despite the potential for additional deaths and Drew Pinsky—Dr. Drew of Loveline and Celebrity Rehab—once claimed that the risk of dying from coronavirus was less than getting hit by an asteroid and compared it to a serious flu. He, too, has since apologized. Are there any other “doctors” who would like to offer their expertise on the matter? Maybe Dr. Drake Ramoray has some thoughts.