Dr. Scott Atlas downplays coronavirus and rails against masks

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Seven months into the pandemic, the White Home remains to be hampering efforts to get the unfold of the virus underneath management and supply support to the individuals going through financial catastrophe attributable to the mandatory public well being restrictions. On Friday, the New York Times reported one more complication within the ongoing stimulus talks between Congress and the Trump administration: White Home officers don’t wish to develop coronavirus testing.

Negotiations over one other support bundle have stalled for months, with Donald Trump calling for an finish till after the election after which rapidly reversing course and calling on Congress to signal a invoice instantly. However Speaker Nancy Pelosi and different Democrats have been making an attempt to include a nationwide testing strategy within the bundle. For months, public well being consultants have been saying that one of the simplest ways to regulate the unfold of COVID-19 is by implementing social distancing measures, carrying masks, and enormous scale testing and isolating of the sick. However the Republicans suppose testing needs to be left as much as the states. And Dr. Scott Atlas, who’s not an infectious disease expert however was picked to advise the president on the coronavirus after appearing on Fox News, insists on ignoring science.

“The overwhelming majority of people that get this an infection should not at excessive threat,” Dr. Atlas told the New York Times. “And whenever you begin searching for out and testing asymptomatic individuals, you might be destroying the workforce.” He additionally stated a federal test-and-isolate program would infringe on civil liberties, and he falsely claimed that “herd immunity” will be achieved as soon as 20 to 40 p.c of People are contaminated. On Saturday morning, he continued to spew debunked science, claiming that masks aren’t efficient.

On the finish of the tweet, Atlas hyperlinks to a chunk by the libertarian suppose tank American Institution for Economic Research, which earlier this month drew the eye of the White Home when it launched a roadmap for ending the pandemic. Referred to as the Nice Barrington Plan, the doc purports to put out a plan for a return to regular life however was extensively criticized as bogus, as my colleague Kiera Butler reported earlier this month:

The overwhelming majority of infectious illness physicians, virologists, and epidemiologists don’t help it—and in reality, many of the scientific neighborhood believes that this strategy will actively damage weak individuals quite than defending them. “The authors are well-known individuals in public well being, however they don’t symbolize something like a consensus view about the best way to strategy COVID,” Yale College epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves advised me. “The remainder of the individuals of their area are them aghast.” Certainly, the general public well being neighborhood has swarmed to point out the many problems with the Nice Barrington plan, and lots of have additionally called out Jacobin for selling it.  

Gonsalves, who wrote a critique of the doc in The Nation, famous that the doc begins with a flawed premise—that we’d solely must isolate a choose few aged and at-risk members of society. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention estimate that 40 p.c of People have a situation that places them in danger for extreme COVID-19. 

Regardless of the roughly 219,000 deaths and the 8 million people plunged into poverty since July, when the final aid invoice expired, the White Home and different Republicans appear hellbent on ignoring the science and denying the assistance that People desperately want—all however making certain that the disaster will proceed unabated. 

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