Dr. Scott Atlas, one the main advisers on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, has ended his stint at the White House after more than four months on the job.
Atlas, formerly the chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center in California, announced his departure from the Trump administration on Monday, posting his resignation letter to Twitter.
Throughout his term as adviser, Atlas said he “worked hard with a singular focus – to save lives and help Americans through this pandemic,” touting his collaboration with “several selfless colleagues in designing specific policies to heighten protection of the vulnerable while safely reopening schools and society.”
— Scott W. Atlas (@ScottWAtlas) December 1, 2020
The former Stanford professor became one of the more controversial figures on the president’s pandemic task force after taking his post in August, particularly over his vocal opposition to sweeping lockdown policies imposed across the US at the state and local level. In his resignation notice, he said he and fellow researchers had “identified and illuminated… the harms of prolonged lockdowns, including that they create massive physical health losses and psychological distress, destroy families and damage our children.”
Perhaps more than anything, my advice was always focused on minimizing all the harms from both the pandemic and the structural policies themselves, especially to the working class and the poor.
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Atlas – whose 130-day detail at the White House was set to expire later this week – has at times clashed with other health officials, with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield claiming in September that “everything [Atlas] says is false,” after the two dispensed conflicting advice on the importance of face coverings amid the viral outbreak.
Though he has maintained a less fraught relationship with the president than other members of the task force – such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Atlas wished success for presumptive president-elect Joe Biden and the incoming administration.
“I sincerely wish the new team all the best as they guide the nation through these trying, polarized times,” he wrote. “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.”
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