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‘Dr. Drew’ sorry for virus comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky has apologized for a series of statements unspooled in a recent video where he downplayed the coronavirus and suggested it was a “press-induced panic.”

“I wish I had gotten it right, but I got it wrong,” said Pinsky in a video posted over the weekend. Pinsky is known as “Dr. Drew.”

Pinsky’s apology was prompted by an online video that put together clips from a series of appearances he made over a two-month period. It’s a storytelling form that has gained steam with the pandemic: The Washington Post has done mashups focused on President Donald Trump and Fox News, while Comedy Central on Friday issued a video targeting conservative personalities.

The Pinsky video surfaced on Twitter, posted by someone who goes by the name “DroopsDr.” It was not possible to establish the person’s identity.

The video collects clips of Pinsky on his online show “Ask Dr. Drew,” his podcast “Dr. Drew After Dark” and other media appearances. He repeatedly suggested the coronavirus would be not as bad as the flu, at one point saying the probability of dying of coronavirus was less than being hit by an asteroid.

On KTLA-TV on March 2, he said he was angry about the “press-induced panic” caused by the disease.

Later in the month, speaking from New York, he noted that subways were much less crowded because city officials had said to avoid riding the trains.

“So I am,” he said. “It’s just ridiculous.”

In his apology, Pinsky noted he was “part of a chorus” that was equating coronavirus to the flu. He said he didn’t understand the ferocity of the illness and had been primarily looking at the number of influenza cases.

While he did not say the clips had been edited in a deceptive way, he noted that in most of his appearances, he also directed viewers toward the guidance of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control. Pinsky did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press Monday.

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