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Dr Jessen also claimed the media had been scaremongering with coverage of the outbreak, describing it as a “Daily Mail epidemic”.
He said: “I don’t think it’s a – it’s a real epidemic. Well, it’s obviously a real epidemic, but I think we are more worried than we need to be.
“Now I might have to eat my words and I really hope I don’t!”
Dr Jessen’s comments were condemned on social media:
We know this is worse than a cold for many people with heart/lung problems, the elderly, diabetics and immunocompromised. Aren’t doctors meant to have empathy at the very least.
Wow Dr Christian Jessen, just wow.
— BabyBore (@babybore) March 13, 2020
#Drchristian you embarrassment of a person! You have thousands of people dying in Italy and you open your mouth to say such terrible things??? Embarrassing Bodies star Dr Christian Jessen has branded Italy’s coronavirus lockdown and ‘excuse to have a long siesta’.
— David Canevaro (@DavidCanevaro) March 13, 2020
I just lost a lot of respect for @DoctorChristian
Really, really poor comments.
Our frontline staff are working extremely hard in Italy.https://t.co/J6y0pqQKar
— Atalanta News (@AtalantaNewsUK) March 13, 2020
An embarassing @DoctorChristian shows he, clearly, wasn’t gifted with a bright mind.
— Davide Lanfranco (@DLtherapies) March 13, 2020