Dr. Mehmet Oz said that America should re-open its schools, appearing to suggest that an expected 2-4 percent increase in the mortality rate is a fair trade-off for making sure kids are educated, fed, and checked up on, The Wrap reports.
Across the country, schools have been closed, in many cases for several weeks and likely until the end of the current school year — if not longer — in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, speaking on Tuesday night to Fox News host Sean Hannity, Oz suggested that a starting point in getting the American economy up and running again should be putting children back into school.
“Let’s start with things that are really critical to the nation where we think we might be able to open without getting into a lot of trouble. I tell ya, schools are a very appetizing opportunity,” he said.
Oz then quoted a recent study in the medical journal The Lancet, which suggested — based on modeling — that closing schools in the United Kingdom would only reduce the overall mortality rate in the country from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, by 2-4 percent.
That’s a tradeoff Oz is willing to accept.
“Any life is a life lost, but to get every child back into a school… might be a tradeoff some folks would consider,” he said.
Dr. Oz also noted that schools provide more than just education. For example, millions of schoolchildren across the country rely on free or reduced-cost lunches. Absent those lunches, many kids might not get adequate nutrition.
DR OZ: "Schools are a very appetizing opportunity. I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3%, in terms of total mortality. Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but … that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider." ???? pic.twitter.com/aifMeKTsIv
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 16, 2020
Similarly, schools provide a place where adults can monitor children for signs of abuse and can report suspected abuse to authorities, as well as providing children trusted adults they can talk to if they’re being abused. Without kids in school, many are likely in danger and are not being properly monitored.
As CNN reports, the idea of sending children back to school sooner rather than later is gaining traction in some states. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, falsely claimed coronavirus doesn’t kill anyone under 25 and is reportedly considering re-opening schools in the state.
As for Dr. Oz, he has previously offered coronavirus-related advice that is decidedly less controversial than that of pushing to open schools. As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, back in March, he suggested that couples cooped up inside due to the coronavirus should let off steam by having sex.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Oz has since apologized in a tweet, writing, “I’ve realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention. I misspoke.”