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Bill O'Reilly: Many of those dying from coronavirus 'were on their last legs anyway'

Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly sparked backlash online this week for saying that many of those who have died from the coronavirus “were on their last legs anyway.”

O’Reilly made the remark Wednesday during an appearance on Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityBiden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Parents of Seth Rich reach undisclosed settlement with Fox News Palin responds to Obama: 'He is a purveyor of untruths' MORE’s radio program shortly after discussing lowered projections for coronavirus deaths in the U.S.

“Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway," O'Reilly said. "And I don’t want to sound callous about that."

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“Hold on – you’re going to get hammered for that,” Hannity said.

“Well, I don’t care. I mean, a simple man tells the truth,” O’Reilly said.

Hannity said, “You mean people that have underlying conditions and compromised immune systems, any virus, you’re saying would’ve —”

"Yes, yes, and not only that, they were damaged,” O'Reilly added. “For example, one of the reasons the death rate in Italy and Spain is 10 times higher than in the United States, 10 times —"

“Age,” Hannity said.

According to a Washington Post analysis published Wednesday, more than 750 people under the age of 50 have died from the virus in the U.S.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that older Americans, especially those who with underlying health conditions, are at a higher risk of dying if they contract COVID-19.

In a report released earlier this month, the CDC said more than 140 children with COVID-19 were reported hospitalized, including 15 who were admitted to an ICU. The agency added that “three deaths were reported among the pediatric cases” in its analysis.

O'Reilly later said in Wednesday's interview: “Well, you’re going to see the Centers for Disease Control, at the end of all this, say this percentage of people who died from the virus, also had other things that killed them.”

O’Reilly’s overall comments sparked a backlash on social media.

On Thursday morning, O'Reilly pushed back against the criticism in a tweet saying the “far-left wants chaos and carnage so President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE will lose re-election.”

He also linked to a blog post he wrote slamming media sites for coverage of his controversial comments, titled: “Far-Left Smears My Analysis on Hannity's Radio Show.”