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Dr. Mehmet Oz said on Wednesday that denial or downplaying of the coronavirus threat could have serious repercussions, especially for vulnerable people.
“If you want to go to a beach, make sure you’re not with anyone who is at risk soon after. Even if the virus spread, you’ll minimize the damage,” Oz told “Fox News @ Night.”
“Ideally, you don’t go to a beach, you definitely don’t go to a bar where the whole purpose is to be near other people.”
Oz’s comments came after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called out students on spring break Tuesday for not practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“The universities with the spring break … a lot of students have just been congregating at the universities and going out and doing things there, and that’s not something we want,” DeSantis said during a news conference on Tuesday.
Despite official encouragement of social distancing, some are still soaking up the sunshine on beaches in the state. On Clearwater Beach in Florida, Monday just appeared to be another day on the Spring Break calendar.
During the Oz interview segment, Shannon Breams aired a clip of Fox News interviewing a Clearwater beach tourist. The tourist, John Jordan, who traveled there from Tennessee, claimed in the interview hat there are a lot more people dying from the flu and previously in 2009 from swine flu than the coronavirus.
“Everybody’s going to get it eventually. It’s a viral infection,” said Jordan. The reporter asked Jordan whether or not he was worried about transmitting it to anyone.
“No. I’m probably going to wind up with it just like you will,” Jordan said.
Oz said that Jordan and those who think similarly are “terribly mistaken” and that every precaution must be taken, even by people showing no symptoms, to slow the spread.
Oz went on to say, “It has shown its ability to kill and although the influenza seasonal flu virus can also be deadly, estimates are this is several times more dangerous. How much more dangerous depends on a lot of how much we manage ourselves and how we are able to deal with the isolation required and plus the social distancing that we’re pledging.”
Fox News Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.