Dr. Scott Atlas downplays coronavirus and rails against masks - 2020-10-17
Seven months into the pandemic, the White House is still hampering efforts to get the spread of the virus under control and provide aid to the people facing economic disaster caused by the necessary public health restrictions. On Friday, the New York Times reported yet another complication in the ongoing stimulus talks between Congress and the Trump administration: White House officials don't want to expand coronavirus testing.
Negotiations over another aid package have stalled for months, with Donald Trump calling for an end until after the election and then quickly reversing course and calling on Congress to sign a bill immediately. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have been trying to include a nationwide testing strategy in the package. For months, public health experts have been saying that the best way to control the spread of COVID-19 is by implementing social distancing measures, wearing masks, and large scale testing and isolating of the sick. But the Republicans think testing should be left up to the states. And Dr. Scott Atlas, who is not an infectious disease expert but was picked to advise the president on the coronavirus after appearing on Fox News, insists on ignoring science.
"The overwhelming majority of people who get this infection are not at high risk," Dr. Atlas told the New York Times. "And when you start seeking out and testing asymptomatic people, you are destroying the workforce." He also said a federal test-and-isolate program would infringe on civil liberties, and he falsely claimed that "herd immunity" can be achieved once 20 to 40 percent of Americans are infected. On Saturday morning, he continued to spew debunked science, claiming that masks aren't effective.