By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - Dr. Mehmet Oz has apologized after making remarks that appeared to minimize the death toll that reopening schools nationwide could have, saying he "misspoke."
"I’ve realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention," Oz, a Turkish-American cardiac surgeon and television personality, said in a pre-recorded video message released on Thursday.
Addressing the process of reopening the U.S. during a Fox News interview, Oz described schools as "a very appetizing opportunity," referring to a study in a medical journal that suggested opening the facilities nationwide "would only cost us two to three percent in total mortality."
"Any life is a life lost, but to get every child back into a school where they're safely being educated, being fed, and making the most out of their lives with the theoretical risk on the backside, might be a tradeoff some folks would consider," he said during a Fox News interview.
Oz was not likely referring to two to three percent of the total population, but was instead referring to the effect that opening schools would have on the much more narrow death toll.
But with the number who have been killed by the novel coronavirus in the U.S. nearing 34,000, and estimates placing a final tally over 60,000 that would still amount to thousands of lives lost.
"I am being asked constantly how we will be able to get people back to their normal lives. To do that one of the important steps will be figuring out how do we get our children safely back to school," Oz said in his apology message. "These are issues we are all wrestling with and I will continue looking for solutions to beat this virus."