Sunday 18 April 2021

Bill Maher slams liberals for pushing COVID 'panic porn', praises Florida Gov. DeSantis for 'protecting his elderly population better than Gov. Cuomo' and says he doesn't want 'politics mixed in with my medical decisions' as cases soar in 21 states

 Bill Maher ripped into liberals and the media for pushing 'panic porn' and praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for protecting his elderly population better than New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his show Real Time on Friday.

Maher, 65, also said he doesn't want politics mixed-in with his medical decisions and blamed the pandemic on obesity - while COVID-19 cases recently soared in 21 states, particularly among children.

'Texas lifted its COVID restrictions recently and their infection rates went down, in part because of people getting outside and letting the sun and wind do their thing,' Maher said.

'But to many liberals, that can't be right because Texas and beach-loving Florida have Republican governors.'

There have been 31,627,701 total cases in the United States as of Saturday night with 566,893 deaths. Those numbers were up from 31,567,744 total cases and 566,240 on Saturday morning. 

Bill Maher ripped into liberals and the media for pushing 'panic porn' on Real Time on Friday

Bill Maher ripped into liberals and the media for pushing 'panic porn' on Real Time on Friday

Maher also praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for protecting his elderly population better than New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Maher also praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for protecting his elderly population better than New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo has repeatedly come under fire for his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic

Cuomo has repeatedly come under fire for his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic

As noted by the Texas Tribune, Gov. Greg Abbott ended almost all statewide restrictions more than a month ago but the seven-day average for daily new confirmed cases is lower now than when the mandates were removed on March 10.

The seven-day average for daily new confirmed cases in Texas was 2,456 on Tuesday and was was 3,020 on March 10.

'I know we like to think of Florida as only middle school teachers on bath salts having sex with their students in front of an alligator,' Maher said.

'But apparently [Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis] is also a voracious consumer of the scientific literature and maybe that's why he protected his most vulnerable population, the elderly, way better than did the governor of New York.'

Cuomo has repeatedly come under fire for his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic and ongoing investigations into how the state allegedly concealed the true number of nursing home-related deaths during the pandemic. 

'Those are just facts. I know it's irresponsible of me to say them. Look, here's what I'm saying: I don't want politics mixed in with my medical decisions,' Maher said.

The segment started with Maher ripping into the media and the 'medical establishment' for its approach in handling the pandemic. 

'Over the past year, the COVID pandemic has prompted the medical establishment, the media, and the government to take a scared-straight approach to getting the public to comply with their recommendations,' Maher said.

'Well, I'm from a different school. Give it to me straight, doc, because in the long run that always works better than 'you can't handle the truth'.'

Maher alleged that the media has lied about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic because 'if it bleeds it leads.'

'The more they can the more they can get you to stay inside and watch their panic porn, the higher the ratings,' Maher said.

The liberal comedian then pointed to research from Dartmouth College in March. The research was covered by The New York Times, which noted that the study found that the U.S. publications with a national audience have 'been much more negative than coverage by any other source.'

'While other countries mixed the good news in with the bad, the U.S. national media reported almost 90 percent bad news. Even as things were getting better, the reporting remained negative,' Maher noted.

The research study noted that the share of negative news was an even 51 percent in international media and 53 percent in U.S. regional media - while slightly higher at 64 percent in scientific journals.

Maher also slammed politicians and the medical community for lying to fit their own agendas. 

'When all of our sources for medical information have an agenda to spin us, yeah you wind up with a badly misinformed population - including on the left,' Maher said.

'Liberals often mock the Republican misinformation bubble, which of course is very real - ask anyone who works at Hillary's Pizza Parlor.'

In an apparent attempt to remain fair, Maher slammed 'conservatives have some loopy ideas about COVID - 'like the third of Republicans who believe it couldn't be spread by someone showing no symptoms.

'But what about liberals, you know, the high information and by-the-science people?' Maher said, before pointing to a recent Gallup survey from March that shows Democrats tend to exaggerate the risks of COVID-19.

'Democrats are also more likely to exaggerate COVID's toll on young people and to believe that children account for a meaningful share of deaths,' The New York Times reported on the survey.

Maher said: 'Democrats did much worse than Republicans in getting the right answer to the fundamental question: what are the chances that someone who gets COVID will need to be hospitalized.'

The late night show host then noted that the highest share of schools that are still closed are all blue states. 

'So if the right-wing media bubble has to own things like climate change denial, shouldn't liberal media have to answer for: 'how did your audience wind up believing such a bunch of crap about COVID',' Maher asked.

Maher then cited a report in The Atlantic this week that found that media outlets keep posting pictures of people at the beach 'as a sign of why things are so bad in the United States' but that the articles 'actually leave some readers with a false sense of which activities are riskiest.'

'The media won't stop putting pictures of the beach on stories about COVID even though it's looking increasingly like the beach is the best place to avoid it,' Maher said. 

'Sunlight is the best disinfectant and Vitamin D is the key to a robust immune system.'

Last year, Trump was mocked in the media for suggesting to Dr. Debra Birx that 'heat and sunlight' might be a treatment alternative amid the pandemic.

'Trump said we should ingest household disinfectants and we laughed as we should of course,' Maher said. 

'And then it turned out 19 percent of America was literally drenching the fruit in Clorox. And now, of course, we find out that all that paranoia about surfaces was bulls**t anyway.'

After the coronavirus first emerged, it took until May 2020 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to clarify that the virus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets and less commonly through contaminated surfaces, The New York Times reported at the time.

The CDC's website notes that people can become infected by 'touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.'

But those are 'not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,' The New York Times reported last May. That line on the CDC website was amended again and now reads that contaminated surfaces are 'not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.'

It appeared to take until August - six months after the start of the pandemic - for Dr. Anthony Fauci to explain, in an interview with actor Matthew McConaughey how early COVID studies may have misled researchers into thinking the virus was spread by touching objects, Best Life noted at the time.

'If you lie to people - even for a very good cause - you lose their trust,' Maher said.

Maher then claimed that he thinks many people died 'because of Trump's incompetence' but that Americans are ignoring how obesity impacts the pandemic.

'People died because talking about obesity had become a third rail in America,' Maher said.

'I know you've heard me pound this fried drumstick, before since I last mentioned it a stunning statistic was reported: 78 percent of those hospitalized, ventilated or dead from COVID have been overweight.'

That number comes from a CDC report cited by CNBC, who noted that 27.8 percent of the 71,491 people treated at 238 U.S. hospitals from March to December were overweight and 50.2 percent were obese.

'It is the key piece of the puzzle. By far the most pertinent factor,' Maher said.

'Imagine how many lives could have been saved if there had been some national campaign a la Michelle Obama's Let's Move program with the urgency of the pandemic behind it. If the media and the doctors had made a point to keep saying there's something you can do.

'But we'll never know, because they never did. Because the last thing you want to do is say something insensitive. 

'We would literally rather die. Instead we were told to lock down. Unfortunately, the killer was already in the house and her name is Little Debbie.'

Maher's comments on Friday come as data from Johns Hopkins shows that coronavirus cases are on the rise in 21 states.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that CDC data show new daily infections in the country have increased 11 percent in the last two weeks. 

Michigan leads the nation with nearly 8,000 new infections each day prompting Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, to urge Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to 'close things down.'

Washington, Minnesota, California and Maine are also among the states that have seen the number of coronavirus cases increase, the Journal-Constitution noted.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that cases in children are on the rise, particularly noting the numbers in Pennsylvania.

'For instance, a year ago in Montgomery County, children under 19 accounted for just 3 percent of cases in the first two weeks of April. Now they make up a quarter of the county’s cases, with 806 children testing positive in the first two weeks of the month,' the outlet reported.

'In Gloucester County, residents under age 20 similarly accounted for a small portion of known COVID-19 cases — just over 2 percent — during the first two weeks of April 2020 but now account for more than 20 percent of cases.'

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