Scott Atlas, Trump's new pandemic adviser, doesn't know anything about infectious diseases.
Dr. Scott Atlas, who was placed on the White House coronavirus task force in August after Donald Trump saw his appearances on Fox News, tweeted a health message at odds with expert advice Sunday.
"Masks work? NO," he posted.
Twitter deleted Atlas's post undermining the efficacy of masks. In an email to the Associated Press, Atlas accused the site of censoring him. "I don't understand why the tweets were deleted," Atlas wrote in an email.
Scientific research has proven that masks help slow the spread of the virus, and public health experts, including those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have been urging their use for months.
Atlas, who is a former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical, lacks expertise in infectious diseases. But prior to his appointment to the pandemic team, he appeared on Fox News often to speak about the coronavirus, undermining expert consensus on the best way to curb its spread.
In October, Atlas appeared on the network to claim that the risks associated with the virus have been exaggerated.
"This is a failure, in my view, of the public health officials who have not come forward with all the knowledge that we have, like I said, that we've learned," Atlas said.
He also urged reopening. "The data is out there, and we don’t all have to be paralyzed with fear. We have to do very, very diligent protection of the people who are vulnerable, and those are usually older people with other comorbidities, and we need to open because we know the harms of not opening," he said.
A report in the Washington Post reveals that experts on the White House task force have become frustrated with Atlas's outsized role, and his willingness to undermine the scientific consensus, in what appears to be an effort to ingratiate himself with Trump.
According to the Post, Atlas has sidelined task force advisors with expertise in infectious diseases. Against the advice of Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, Atlas has argued that testing capacity doesn't need to be expanded.
"Atlas also cultivated Trump’s affection with his public assertions that the pandemic is nearly over, despite death and infection counts showing otherwise, and his willingness to tell the public that a vaccine could be developed before the Nov. 3 election, despite clear indications of a slower timetable," according to the Post.
Trump also continues to undermine the severity of the coronavirus, even after his own bout with it. "The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself," he told Savannah Guthrie at last week's town hall.
More than 219,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.