ABC broadcaster Norman Swan has apologized to the family of the late Kimberley Kitching for saying on ABC News that the Labor senator’s death may have been Covid-19 related.
Swan also linked Shane Warne’s death to Covid, saying “it’s too much of a coincidence” that the great cricketer died shortly after a Covid infection.
ABC News Breakfast Wednesday morning repeated Swan’s apology.
“Dr Norman Swan has issued an apology after suggesting there may be a Covid link to the deaths of Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching and cricketer great Shane Warne,” Michael Rowland said. “He made the comments during his interview on our program yesterday. Dr Swan says he personally apologized to Senator Kitching’s husband yesterday and made a mistake which he regrets.
Warne died of a heart attack aged 52 while vacationing in Koh Samui, Thailand in March.
“I 100% accept that I was wrong,” Swan told Guardian Australia. “And regardless of the context, I can’t escape the fact that I hurt the family and I apologize for that and I feel bad about it.”
On Tuesday’s News Breakfast, the ABC RN Health Report host spoke about a study that linked Covid infection to a much higher risk of having a heart attack, stroke or thrombosis .
“It’s too much of a coincidence that Shane Warne and the Labor senator from Victoria died shortly after a Covid infection, and people are reporting sudden death after a Covid infection,” he said on ABC News . “It’s not benign.”
The co-host of ABC’s Coronacast podcast is considered a trusted voice on the pandemic and has been a health broadcaster for 30 years.
After being contacted by the Daily Mail on Tuesday about Kitching and Warne’s Covid affair, he doubled down, saying Warne had ‘many risk factors for heart disease, but if he was going to have a bit of inflammation additional Covid, it could have tipped him overboard.”
“They are two top people,” he told the Daily Mail. “One of them dying was a complete surprise, and they both had Covid in the background.
“These weren’t private deaths, they were very public and impacted a lot of people who scratched their heads and wondered why, and that could have been a reason.
“If I thought it was hurtful to the families, I wouldn’t have said it.
“What would be hurtful is to say that Kimberley Kitching had a terrible lifestyle, if I blamed her for the heart attack it would be a terrible thing to say to the family. But if it’s a side effect of Covid, that begins to explain things.
Swan explained that he thought it might be helpful to have an explanation and also to warn people not to be jaded about catching Covid.
However, when Swan learned later on Tuesday that he had upset Kitching’s family, he apologized.
Kitching’s family told Swan she did not test positive for Covid before she died suddenly at the age of 52, after suffering a suspected heart attack.
Her death caused an outpouring of grief but also political slander, fueled by Bill Shorten’s observation that “the stress of politics and machinations in the back rooms took their toll” on her.