After a week of Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel advising the network’s audience that the coronavirus COVID-19 was comparable to influenza, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Health testified today that the disease is actually “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.” Also today, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
On March 6, Siegel went on the Fox straight “news” program Bill Hemmer Reports and attacked the WHO as “a bunch of alarmists” and “saber rattlers” for warning countries that it “is time for pulling out all the stops” to slow the spread of COVID-19. Siegel argued that the estimated 3.4% fatality rate was inaccurate for “an organized country with a great health care system,” downplaying the coronavirus by saying that “there’s no reason to believe it's actually more problematic or deadly than influenza.”
Siegel also told Fox prime-time host Sean Hannity on March 6 that “this virus should be compared to the flu. Because at worst, at worst, worst case scenario it could be the flu.”
On the March 10 edition of Fox & Friends, Siegel was asked directly about mortality rates for both COVID-19 and influenza. Instead of downplaying coronavirus, this time Siegel instead warned: “We tend to take the flu for granted … but it’s a big killer. Flu is a huge problem here.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leader in the United States’ national response to the disease, testified before Congress on March 11 that COVID-19 is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.”
Prior to Fauci’s testimony, on the March 11 edition of America’s Newsroom, co-anchor Sandra Smith asked Siegel how his thinking had changed since “a week or two weeks ago.” Siegel replied, “I think it’s more contagious than we thought originally,” but did not take responsibility for his dangerously wrong comparisons from several days ago.