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Television host and political commentator Bill Maher hammered the media for disregarding obesity’s role in the lethality of COVID-19.
Maher appeared on the latest episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special” hosted by Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro and released over the weekend. During the interview, Maher said that members of the media have “blood on [their] hands” for downplaying or ignoring the dangers of obesity.
“Seventy-eight percent of the people who died or are hospitalized are obese. And that’s another one that’s not a popular opinion to talk about, but I feel like I have to because it’s such a salient fact in this,” Maher said. “If you just said to somebody, ‘Okay, there’s an x factor in this … this x factor accounts for 78% who die or go to the hospital.’ Wouldn’t you be a curious? If you were a news organization, wouldn’t you be talking about that fact all the time?”
A March 2021 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 79.1% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight or obese.
“Among 148,494 adults who received a COVID-19 diagnosis during an emergency department (ED) or inpatient visit at 238 U.S. hospitals during March–December 2020, 28.3% had overweight and 50.8% had obesity. Overweight and obesity were risk factors for invasive mechanical ventilation, and obesity was a risk factor for hospitalization and death, particularly among adults aged <65 years,” the study says.
Maher said that talking publicly about health risks associated with obesity has become “the ultimate third rail in discourse.” While COVID-19 will become, in Maher’s estimation, a “much more mild disease,” the “real epidemic” of obesity will continue because “we don’t talk about it.”
“I’m not fat shaming, I’m fat-splaining,” Maher continued. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, absolutely, but science is not. Science is not, and those facts are unforgiving when you look at the number of people who died. And you didn’t have to be that much overweight to have a much worse outcome having to go to the hospital, having to get ventilated.”
“Again, I’m not shaming people. I’m just saying we are never going to solve the health care crisis in this country until we get our arms around this thing, and we’re not allowed to talk about it or else you’re a bad person. Anyone who doesn’t, I’m sorry, you have blood on your hands. Anyone in the media who doesn’t talk about this because you’re so afraid of the reaction, you have blood on your hands because you are not doing these people a favor. You are not doing people a favor. Like I always say, ever see a fat 90-year-old? Never. Shouldn’t that tell you something?” Maher said.
“When we were debating health care in this country for years – Obamacare and on after – it was always about we would look at the charts, we would see how much health care spending is going up,” he continued. “Whether you thought Obamacare was a good idea or some other program. We need some program to deal with this. But never part of that program was let’s ask the people to participate in their own health.”
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