Former Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly faced a wave of criticism after he said the thousands of people who have died from the novel coronavirus around the world “were on their last legs anyway.”
During an interview on Sean Hannity’s radio show Tuesday evening, Mr. O’Reilly said the U.S. was making “little steps” toward normalcy and predicted that the total deaths would be even lower than the Trump administration’s lowered projections.
“The projections that you just mentioned are down to 60,000, I don’t think it will be that high,” he said. “13,000 dead now in the USA. Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway, and I don’t want to sound callous about that.”
“Hold on,” Mr. Hannity interjected. “You’re going to get hammered for that.”
“Well, I don’t care,” Mr. O’Reilly replied. “I mean, a simple man tells the truth.”
Sure enough, the comments were picked up by the left-wing Media Matters and Mr. O’Reilly, who was ousted from Fox News in 2017 due to several sexual harassment lawsuits, became a trending topic on Twitter Thursday morning.
“More far left propaganda,” Mr. O’Reilly fired back in a tweet. “The virus death rate for folks WITHOUT preexisting conditions is below one percent. With health problems much, much higher. I pointed that out and the nuts objected, also claiming the health systems in Italy and Spain are better than USA. Bull.”
He also wrote a blog post further explaining his position.
“On April 1, the CDC reported that 73 percent of all Americans hospitalized for COVID have a preexisting health condition that made them vulnerable for the contagion,” Mr. O’Reilly wrote. “That lines up with a study out of China that states less than one percent of virus fatalities occur in folks with no health problems.”
“The far left wants chaos and carnage so President Trump will lose re-election. They are not interested in facts and will try to punish people who provide perspective,” he continued. “The pandemic is extremely deadly but not the Black Plague. It will be defeated but panic is not part of the solution. I flagged the virus on January 22 and have reported honestly on it ever since. But I also understand what Media Matters and their hateful friends are up to.”