After a controversial four months during which he regularly disagreed with other members of the coronavirus task force, Dr. Scott Atlas, a radiologist who won the interest of US President Donald Trump by promoting science-defying advice on COVID-19, resigned from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
A special 130-day contract was named in August for Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no experience in infectious diseases or epidemiology. Next week the function was scheduled to expire.
When Trump sidelined experienced analysts including Dr Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Atlas emerged as one of Trump’s closest advisors on the COVID-19 pandemic.
While on the job, when he challenged initiatives intended to curtail the transmission of the epidemic, he disagreed with top government scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.
According to Fox News, which first announced his resignation, “I am writing to resign from my position as Special Advisor to the President of the United States,” Atlas said in a letter to Trump dated 1 December.
The letter states that although he repeatedly amplified false claims about the disease, including insisting that children “never transmit the disease” and opposed funding widespread testing, he had “focused on mitigating all the harms of both the pandemic and the systemic policies themselves, especially to the working class and the poor.
His letter also recognised the incoming president-elect Joe Biden’s administration: “I sincerely wish the new team all the best as they guide the nation through these trying, polarized times … With the emerging treatments and vaccines, I remain highly optimistic that America will thrive once again and overcome the adversity of the pandemic and all that it has entailed.”
The U.S. coronavirus death toll is reaching 270,000, with more than 150,000 new infections registered every day while hospitalization rates are increasingly growing.