Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs has been criticized for coverage of the coronavirus pandemic that critics say downplayed the severity of the outbreak, taking aim at the “national left-wing media” for what he said was “playing up fears of the coronavirus” in order to drive down the stock market.
Now, Dobbs is off the air and in self-isolation after reportedly coming in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
As The Daily Beast noted, substitute host David Asman told viewers on Friday’s edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight that the longtime conservative host had decided to stay in self-isolation after a team member on the show tested positive. Asman noted that Dobbs is not showing any symptoms of the virus, but has decided to take necessary precautions in an abundance of caution.
As the report noted, the announcement that he was in self-isolation came after Dobbs had been one of the biggest critics of the panic that accompanied the spread of the virus. Dobbs, one of the most vocal defenders of Donald Trump, echoed early tones from the White House that the severity of the coronavirus outbreak was overblown and that it would pass quickly. Dobbs has shifted his tone in recent days as Trump has done the same, and now devotes much of his show to praising Trump’s response to the outbreak.
Dobbs has joined a number of others close to Trump affected by the spread of the coronavirus. On Friday, the office of Vice President Mike Pence announced that a staff member had tested positive, the first known case of a White House staffer contracting the virus. A spokesperson for the office said that Pence did not have any direct contact with the individual.
Earlier in the month, several Republican lawmakers decided to self-quarantine after coming into contact with a man at the Conservative Political Action Conference who later tested positive at a New Jersey medical facility. Trump himself was in close contact with a Brazilian official who spent a weekend with the president at Mar-a-Lago, even posing while standing next to Trump, and days later tested positive for coronavirus. Trump himself was tested later in the week, and the results came back negative.
Dobbs and others in the Fox News family of networks have been accused of following Trump’s initial lead in downplaying the impact of the coronavirus — though like Dobbs, many have now shifted their tone. Earlier this week, Fox News host Jesse Watters admitted on the air that he should have taken the warnings more seriously. Watters had said on the air days prior that he was not worried about contracting the coronavirus and that he would “beat it” with positive thinking.