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April 2, 2020, 6:44 p.m. EDT

Fox News host asks a doctor about the government’s coronavirus response — some say his answer might have cost him a return appearance

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By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch


Fox News

‘They should have been working on it for months! We knew about this when? December 31st, 2019. So last year we knew about this, we knew it was coming, we knew it was a respiratory disease, we knew it was person-to-person.’

That’s infectious-disease physician Rishi Desai, chief medical officer at Osmosis, talking to Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Wednesday night about the shortcomings of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Look at what South Korea did, and what we did. Their population is one-sixth of ours,” he said. “Look at the cases they have. Look at the mortality they have. It’s a trifle compared to what we’re dealing with right now because we’ve had a very weak response and they had a really strong response.”

Abbott Laboratories /zigman2/quotes/203724446/composite ABT +1.19% shares soared earlier this week after the company said it received emergency FDA approval for a five-minute test, which Desai referred to on the Fox show.

Earlier in the interview, Desai made the case for a sweeping national shutdown, saying that Fox News viewers could take optimism from the projected outcome.

“We would see a drop-off in cases within two weeks,” he said. “Within two weeks, the number of cases would start to fall, and the entire country would breathe a sigh of relief.”

Watch the full segment:

While much of the media has been critical of the White House during the pandemic, the high-profile personalities of Fox’s prime-time lineup have maintained a steady defense of the president. So even though MacCallum ended the show by inviting Desai back, others shared their doubts:

After Desai blew up the internet, he told Bay Area News Group on Thursday that he believes he contracted COVID-19 after battling fever, shortness of breath and coughing.

“Everyone is going to be touched in profound ways, either family members or your jobs,” the Oakland doctor said in the interview. “Many people are undiagnosed and there are many people who haven’t been tested. These numbers are likely to climb.”

/zigman2/quotes/203724446/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
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Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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