When Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, he stressed the importance of Americans taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously.

“I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting,” Fauci said.

Yet for weeks as the virus spread in the United States, many Fox News hosts and personalities did the opposite, examples of which you can watch in the video above.

“This is yet another attempt to impeach the president,” Fox Business host Trish Regan said March 9.

“At worst — worst case scenario — it could be the flu,” Fox News medical correspondent Marc Siegel, a doctor, said March 6.

“All the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly [than the flu] doesn’t reflect reality,” Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said March 7.

In fact, the coronavirus is deadlier and more contagious than the flu, thousands have already died around the world because of it.

Over the past week, many Fox hosts and personalities have pivoted to warning viewers about the dangers of coronavirus. But the weeks they spent downplaying it may have already affected the public response.

As my colleague Philip Bump wrote, “Republicans and Fox News viewers are both about as likely to say that the media broadly has either slightly or greatly exaggerated the threat posed by the virus,” according to new data from the Pew Research Center.

On Wednesday, Fox host Sean Hannity pushed back on criticism of his early coronavirus coverage.

“This program has always taken the coronavirus seriously and we’ve never called the virus a hoax,” Hannity said last night.

But nine days earlier, Hannity did just that.

“They’re scaring the living hell out of people and I see it again as like, ‘Oh, let’s bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.’”

Fox did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

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