Who is Dr Scott Atlas? White House coronavirus task force member who campaigned against face masks resigns
In a tweet, Dr Scott Atlas said he's honored to have served Donald Trump and the American people during these difficult times
Dr Scott Atlas, Donald Trump's coronavirus advisor who resigned on Monday, November 30, said that he was honored for having the opportunity the serve America and the president in these difficult times. In a tweet, he said, "honored to have served Donald Trump and the American people during these difficult times."
A White House official confirmed that the Stanford University neuroradiologist, who had no formal experience in public health or infectious diseases, resigned at the end of his temporary government assignment. Atlas caused controversies several times in the last few months with various policies and comments, the most infamous being — "Mask works? No!"
Atlas joined the White House this summer where he clashed with top government scientists including Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx. He was against stronger efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic that has caused the deaths of more than 267,000 Americans.
Atlas steered away from experts and the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community by criticizing efforts to encourage face covering. Just weeks ago on Twitter, he responded to Michigan's latest virus restrictions by encouraging people to "rise up" against the state's policies.
His views also prompted Stanford to issue a statement distancing itself from the faculty member, saying Atlas "has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university’s approach in response to the pandemic. We support using masks, social distancing and conducting surveillance and diagnostic testing. We also believe in the importance of strictly following the guidance of local and state health authorities."
Atlas defended his role in his resignation letter, saying, "I cannot think of a time where safeguarding science and the scientific debate is more urgent." He was hired as a "special government employee", which limited his service to the government to 130 days in a calendar year, a deadline he reached this week.
Who is Dr Atlas Scott?
Dr Scott Atlas is a professor of neuroradiology, a political commentator and health care policy advisor. He is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank. He received a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and his MD from the Pritzker School of Medicine of the University of Chicago.
Atlas was selected by Trump in August 2020 to serve as an advisor on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. In that role, Atlas reportedly spread misinformation about Covid-19 and promoted fringe theories that face masks and social distancing were not effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
His statements and influence on policies have caused controversy in the task force. Contrary to the recommendations of most of the scientific community, Atlas pushed for establishing herd immunity and a faster reopening of schools and businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He advocated that states should not engage in universal testing and encouraged residents to resist or "rise up" against state restrictions adopted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Atlas resigned from his position in the White House on November 30, 2020.