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New White House Doctor Scott Atlas Joins Coronavirus Task Force

August 17, 2020, 05.07 PM

“It doesn't matter if younger, healthier people get infected. I don't know how often that has to be said.

They have nearly zero risk of a problem from this," he said in one appearance.

“When younger, healthier people get infected, that's a good thing," he went on to say, "because that's exactly the way that population immunity develops.”

While younger people are certainly at far lower risk of developing serious complications from the virus, they can still spread it to others who may be more vulnerable, even when they have no symptoms.

And while their chances of dying are slim, some do face severe complications, with one study finding that 35 percent of young adults had not returned to normal health two weeks to three weeks after testing positive.

But Atlas' thinking closely aligns with Trump's perspective on the virus, which he has played down since its earliest days.

While Trump eventually supported the lockdowns that once helped slow the disease's spread, he has since pressured states to reopen schools and businesses as he tries to revive a battered economy before the November election.

Read also: Indonesia to Allow Face-to-Face Classes in Covid-19 Low Risk Zones

Public health experts have long bemoaned Trump's efforts to politicize the virus and have encouraged him to let doctors and scientists lead the nation's response.

But they questioned the decision to bring on Atlas, whose expertise is in magnetic resonance imaging and whose research has focused on factors impacting health care policy.

“I think he's utterly unqualified to help lead a Covid response," said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University law professor who specializes in public health.

“His medical degree isn’t even close to infectious diseases and public health and he has no experience in dealing with public health outbreaks.”

“It's very clear to me," Gostin added, "that the president brought on somebody who will just be a mouthpiece for his agenda and a ‘yes’ person." Gostin expressed concern that Trump was sidelining other doctors, including Birx and Fauci, because he had soured on their advice.

“In the face of an epidemic that’s killing hundreds of thousands of Americans, that’s unforgivable," he said.

"You want clear independent advice from people with long experience in fighting novel pandemics and he has none of those credentials.”


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