7:52pm PT by Trilby Beresford
Bill Maher Reluctantly Tackles Coronavirus: "People Die, That's What Happens in Life, I'm Sorry"
Late-night host Bill Maher briefly tackled the coronavirus outbreak during HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher on Friday night.
"I'm over this virus," he declared, which prompted a laugh from his guests including author Ross Douthat and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. "I'm sick of the virus, but not from the virus," Maher clarified.
Referencing the mainstream media coverage that has dominated news briefings over the last few weeks, the host said, "They make it sound like if you're within six feet of anyone who has it, just get your affairs in order."
Jumping in, Douthat noted that the American response to the outbreak has been "up and down." He added that while South Korea has tested thousands of people, the U.S. health officials actually don't know how many they've tested.
Originating in Wuhan, China, the virus — which causes the disease COVID-19 — began spreading earlier this year and has now taken the lives of over 3,300 people, affecting over 90,000 worldwide. Iran, Italy and South Korea have been hit particularly hard.
"The response is to have a good immune system," joked Maher. As a comparison to the common flu virus, he looked up some statistics. "The regular flu has killed 517 people in California this season. If that was on TV every day, we would be freaking out."
Concluding the coronavirus segment, he said, "People die, that's what happens in life, I'm sorry."