"My early comments about equating coronavirus with influenza were wrong," Dr. Drew said. "I was part of a chorus that was saying that, and we were wrong."
Dr. Drew Pinsky is backing down on some of his recent comments that have not aged well at all as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues sweeping the glob, with contraction and death figures increasing dramatically in the United States.
In early February, though, Dr. Drew called the coronavirus a "press induced panic," arguing that not only was it less dangerous than the traditional flu, but that the chances of dying from it are lower than being "hit by an asteroid."
With global death rates at 66,503 (at press time) -- including 8,454 in the United States alone -- even saying he dramatically understated the potential dangers of the virus is an understatement.
"My early comments about equating coronavirus with influenza were wrong. They were incorrect," Dr. Drew said on Saturday. "I was part of a chorus that was saying that, and we were wrong. And I want to apologize for that."
"I wish I had gotten it right, but I got it wrong," he said in a new video shared to Twitter.
He went on to say that one thing he did not get wrong was to emphasize that we should all be looking to Dr. Fauci for guidance. "He was my guiding star in the AIDS epidemic and he should be your star now."
Dr. Drew said that when Fauci made it clear that this was significantly different -- and more deadly -- than typical influenza, he adjusted course. He has also been following CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and other measures.
"I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I wear a mask outside now. And it's paid dividends. It is improving-- It is flattening the curve," he said. "And I'm delighted to be a part of that. I'm glad to be a part of that."
Dr. Drew came under fire again when a compilation video of him downplaying COVID-19 repeatedly across media throughout February and March was resurfaced on social media over the weekend. It's unclear if that specifically is what promoted this response, but it came within hours of the original video going viral.
You can check out those original comments below, as edited to contradict his current and more recent stance: