Scott Atlas has resigned as particular adviser to Donald Trump, a White Home official stated on Monday, after a controversial 4 months throughout which he attacked science-based public well being measures and clashed repeatedly with different members of the coronavirus taskforce.
“I am writing to resign from my position as Special Advisor to the President of the United States,” Atlas stated in a letter to Trump dated 1 December, in accordance with Fox Information, which first reported his resignation. Atlas later confirmed his resignation in a tweet.
Atlas is a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s rightwing Hoover Establishment, the place he works on healthcare coverage. He has no experience or expertise in infectious illnesses or epidemiology, but was however chosen by Trump to advise the president on the pandemic.
Atlas joined the White Home this summer season, the place he clashed with high authorities scientists, together with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx, as he resisted stronger efforts to comprise the pandemic.
Atlas attacked public well being measures resembling masks, stay-at-home orders and social distancing. He referred to as on residents of Michigan to “rise up” in opposition to restrictions put in place by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who had been the goal of a kidnapping plot, resulting in requires his firing.
Atlas repeatedly downplayed the specter of the virus, which has killed greater than 265,000 Individuals.
He additionally promoted the concept the US ought to goal to attain “herd immunity”, a so-called technique that might in all probability lead to thousands and thousands of deaths, and was repeatedly rebuked by public well being and infectious illness specialists, along with Stanford College and the Stanford college senate.
His views additionally prompted Stanford to situation a press release distancing itself from the college 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,” the college stated on 16 November. “We also believe in the importance of strictly following the guidance of local and state health authorities.”
Atlas has been sharply criticized by public well being specialists, together with Fauci, the main US infectious illness professional, for offering Trump with deceptive or incorrect info on the virus pandemic. He has downplayed the significance of face masks and this month stated lockdowns had been “an epic failure” in stopping the virus’s unfold.
Atlas defended his position in his resignation letter, saying, “I cannot think of a time where safeguarding science and the scientific debate is more urgent.”
The resignation comes because the nation faces a lethal surge in coronavirus circumstances and record-high hospitalisations. The US is at the moment reporting greater than 100,000 new coronavirus circumstances a day.
Dr Celine Grounder, a member of Biden’s advisory panel on the disaster, greeted the information of the resignation with reduction.
“I’m relieved that in the future, people who are qualified, people who are infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists like me will be helping to lead this effort,” she instructed CNBC.
“You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist for a heart attack and that was essentially what was happening.”
Atlas was employed as a “special government employee”, which restricted his service to authorities to 130 days in a calendar 12 months, a deadline he reached this week.