It looks like the Twittersphere got its appearance from Dr. Phil of Dr. Phil on a Thursday night episode of the TV show The Ingraham angle. On the show, Phil
McGraw, PhD (no, her first name is not Dr. and her last name is not Phil) made a few comments to host Laura Ingraham on the COVID-19 coronavirus which seemed to rub science and a lot on Twitter in the wrong way.
Here is the segment on Fox News:
On the The Ingraham angle segment, McGraw, who has long hosted a show called The Dr. Phil Show, said “we probably should never have started”, “this” probably means measures of social distancing such as closing workplaces, schools and encouraging people to stay home for quarantine coronaviruses. However, he did not offer an alternative to “this”. With a new virus, SARS-CoV2, which has shown that it can kill at significantly higher rates than the flu, it has not specified what exactly should have been done instead of social distancing to prevent the viruses to spread and kill more people. There is currently no scientifically supported vaccine or specific treatment for the COVID-19 coronavirus. And talking about the feelings of viruses will not work.
Instead of suggesting alternative solutions, he said “The fact is that we have people dying, 45,000 people die each year from traffic accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 from swimming pools each year, but we are not closing the country for that, but yet we are doing And the fallout will last for years because people’s lives are destroyed. ” Preet Bhara, the U.S. attorney for the New York Southern District from 2009 to 2017, included an excerpt from this statement in the following tweet, with a few comments:
So is it an argument “just let people die from the COVID-19 coronavirus” that McGraw presented the The Ingraham angle? Is this angle a bit obtuse? Help everyone to understand this better, please. After all, death and suffering would be a bit of a problem, especially for those who have to go through it.
Then there is the whole thing by comparing the COVID-19 coronavirus with the problem of cars, cigarettes and swimming pools. Here’s the trick. There is a reason why COVID-19 is called an infectious disease. It’s contagious. It’s contagious as this tweet points out:
Yes, a pool accident is generally not a contagious disease, unless you have COVID-19 and decide to swim, which you absolutely should not do. Oh, and just in case you don’t know, car crashes are not contagious:
If they were, you would see people fleeing car accidents as if they were the plague. There would be huge empty spaces next to the 405 in Los Angeles. However, you don’t tend to have a car accident because someone has passed the “car accident virus” on to you. It’s not like scientists have suggested social distance as a way to prevent car accidents, smoking and drowning in swimming pools.
Indeed, there are many better alternative solutions for these problems. For example, to reduce the risk of car accidents, you could encourage more public transit, prevent people from driving while intoxicated, put more safety features in cars, encourage more people to wear the seatbelt, set tighter traffic rules, change the configuration of streets and highways, and tell people to stop texting while driving.
However, such approaches will not stop the new coronavirus. The only way seat belts could possibly stop a virus is to create very small seat belts, convince viruses to wear them, and keep them from unbuckling. This would then require the construction of very small car seats for viruses, which would be complicated since viruses have no arms, legs, or head. You also can’t really speak to viruses, because they are viruses after all. It just wouldn’t be very achievable.
McGraw was also off when he suggested that 360,000 people die each year from swimming pool accidents. In this case, off means about 100 times the actual number of drownings per year, as this tweet said:
Yeah, a hundred times is a bit wrong. Can you imagine if you told your partner that when you said that you had 200 sex partners in the past, you really meant two? Or vice versa? That would leave a different kind of mark, so to speak.
Even 3,600 can be a little high estimate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Ffrom 2005 to 2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional (non-shipping) drownings in the United States – about 10 deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year as a result of boating incidents. These are all drownings, including other bodies of water in addition to the swimming pools.
Speaking of swimming pools, all of this has prompted some on Twitter to delve into his background and credentials. For example:
This Twitter thread went even further:
Twitter is therefore Twitter, so you will need to check everything that is said about McGraw’s background. In addition, MDs are not the only ones with knowledge to comment on the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and not all MDs have this knowledge. There are doctorates in epidemiology, industrial engineering and mathematics, for example, who may have ideas, if they have the appropriate expertise and experience. A doctorate in clinical psychology may not be the first degree you think of, but the most important is that McGraw does not seem to have demonstrable experience in the field. He may have the background and experience necessary to discuss the psychological impacts of social distancing and how to manage them. Before discussing other areas, however, it would be useful to better understand his experience in these areas.
All of this led to “Mr. Phil “to start circulating on Twitter:
OK, that’s not entirely fair because he has a doctorate.
McGraw responded to some of the reviews with the following video on YouTube:
McGraw said: “Last night I said that as a society, we have chosen to live with certain controllable risks every day: smoking, car accidents, swimming. Yes, I know it is not contagious, so probably some bad examples. I have called them death numbers that we find seemingly acceptable because we do little or nothing about them. “
Umm, that’s not entirely fair either. Many scientists and public health officials have attempted to reduce deaths from smoking, car accidents and swimming. They have encountered obstacles and other programs preventing them from doing more, but these are complex issues that would take much longer to discuss.
If you’re going to be on national television and wondering why social distancing was done, be prepared to provide an alternative solution, which is not just about letting people die. It is very easy to criticize everything that is not a Baby Panda, but finding solutions is much, much more difficult. Of course, social isolation is not a perfect solution and leads to many difficulties. However, the only real way to get around it is to implement another solution such as generalized tests with a test-treat-isolate and active surveillance strategies. Health system problems such as lack of capacity and personal protective equipment also need to be addressed. Our society cannot simply stop social distancing without a means to contain the virus and be ready to care for the patients it infects. Anyone who has the title of doctor and gives advice on what to do must provide science-backed solutions. Otherwise, that person could just be Dr. full of things.