In two separate interviews, Dr. Drew Pinsky, M.D., said the liberal media are "over-reacting" to coronavirus, do not know how to report on it, and have created a "hysteria." The "press needs to shut up," he said, adding that the measures taken by President Trump, the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci are "appropriate" and should be heeded.
The "right people" are combating this virus, he said, stressing that Dr. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, "will tell you what's going on" and "when you need to worry."
Dr. Pinsky, a specialist in addictive medicine, and a popular TV personality -- Dr. Drew on Call, Lifechangers, Celebrity Rehab -- made his remarks in two different interviews on the Daily Blast Live. (Pinsky is popularly known as Dr. Drew.)
In early February, Daily Blast Live host Sam Schacher asked Dr. Drew if people were over-reacting to the news about the coronavirus.
Dr. Drew replied, "Yes, yes, yes. We are not over-reacting, the press is overreacting. It makes me furious. The press should not be reporting medical stories as though they know how to report it."
"If we have a pandemic, I won’t know how to tell that we’re actually having a pandemic because everything is an 'emergency'" to the media, he said.
"People that are infectious disease specialists, the CDC, the epidemiologists, need to take this very seriously," said Dr. Drew. "The press needs to shut up because you’re more likely to die of influenza right now.”
On Feb. 27, in a follow-up interview, Sam Schacher spoke with Dr. Drew on the telephone and asked if he was still as passionate about his view on the coronavirus.
Dr. Drew said, "Well, let me frame it this way: we have in the United States 24 million cases of flu-like illness, 180,000 hospitalizations, 16,000 dead from influenza. Why is that not being reported? Why isn’t the message: get your flu shot?"
The coronavirus is "going to be much more widespread than we knew," he said. "It’s going to be much milder than we knew. The 1.7% fatality rate is going to fall. Where was the press during the Mediterranean corona outbreak when the fatality rate was 41%. They want to get crazed about something why didn’t they get crazed about MERS and SARS?"
"This is an overblown, press-created hysteria," said Dr. Drew.
He continued, "The countries China, United States, Europe are responding appropriately and very diligently. We’re going to contain this thing. We’ve already got a vaccine study right now in human subjects. So, this thing is well advanced."
"President Trump is absolutely correct," said Dr. Drew. "He allocated $2.5 billion for this, Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] asked for $8 billion. My response is, hey man, we’ve got a homeless problem here in California and in Denver. Would you please give us some of that $8 billion and forget about the coronavirus? We’ve got that taken care of."
Schacher then asked, "Do you believe that Mike Pence is the right person to handle this considering how he mishandled the HIV epidemic in 2015 with the needle exchange program, which one study said contributed to more deaths?"
"I don’t know what they’re talking about," said Dr. Drew. "The way that Indiana responded to the HIV and opioid epidemics was a model for the country. I don’t know what they’re talking about. … Indiana handled these problems better than most states did, almost any other state. So, I don’t know what the hell they’re [the critics] talking about."
"That is fake news," he added. "We need to look at Indiana as an appropriate response to the opiate epidemic, which we were really responding to at the time. … They really took care of business in Indiana, so I have no idea what people are talking about."
Dr. Drew continued, "Whether Pence is the right person – look, the right people are Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CDC. You listen to Anthony Fauci. Dr. Fauci will tell you what’s going on, when you need to worry. … When there’s a problem, he will let us know."
"He’s been saying exactly what I’ve been saying the whole way," said Drew. "Look to him, not me, and not even Vice President Pence. Look to guys like Anthony Fauci, whose responsibility it is to contain these things."