Dr. Scott Atlas, whose qualifications to be a pandemic health adviser are largely found in his background as a neuroradiologist and his extensive trove of “get back to work/school” writings, has been given the title of “adviser to the President”. [Perhaps similar in nature to Jared Kushner’s job as adviser to Mr. West.] All is likely well because President Trump is known for picking the best doctors.
Atlas has essentially been auditioning for the role since May when he (and a few others) many pieces about the public health tradeoffs between a battered economy and a disease ravaged country. Granted, we could have a sensible, if difficult, conversation about that — right after we get through the backlog of other sensible, if difficult, conversations.
Understanding that a battered economy is particularly bad for his health, the President no doubt sympathized with the good doctor’s position. Lately, he’s made the final round of the hiring process by appearing on Fox and media friends touting the essential role of education and, ipso facto, that teachers are essentially workers.
“The data is clear. Whether it’s from Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Spain, the United States, Asia, all over the world, children do not have any serious disease. Children almost never transmit the disease. In fact, Switzerland is contemplating stopping even testing children because it’s irrelevant. There is not serious risk of even getting the illness. But that’s not even the point here, I want to go even further. By now, we know who is at risk. K-12 teachers in the United States, half of them are under 41 years of age, they’re not at risk. 82% are under 55-years-old, if there is a handful, which there are, teachers in the high-risk category, don’t they know how to protect themselves with their so called 6-feet spacing and mask rules? And if they’re still afraid, even if they don’t want to do that, then they can teach from home. I don’t understand why they have to lock up schools.”
Dr. Atlas no doubt won over Trump by stating on Monday, August 10th that college football should go on using a similar rationale to arguments about the utility of child safety seats.
“We have to become rational here. The risk for people that age is less than seasonal influenza. I mean, you have to really look at the data …You can’t say it’s all about the science and then act contrary to science.”
Again, keep in mind that Atlas’ first profession had nothing to do with disease and his current profession is to spout anti-regulatory nonsense the Hoover Institute. Trump likely does not get the irony that in this time of economic and social crisis that he has turned to an unqualified official working for the namesake of the President who thought the Depression would resolve itself – like a flu.
Or, maybe the President doesn’t know any of that stuff but does know that Hoover has his name on a giant dam and that’s boss.
Fauci is not gone, yet – something tells me that the President understands that his actual removal would even shake the confidence of the Washington Death Cultists who really aren’t interested in dying themselves.
This feels very much like the Republican response to climate and other inconvenient science where deniers typically find a scientist – really any scientist, but often a nuclear physicist – to say “I’m a scientist and the world is fine”.
Maybe this is a one-off. I mean, hey, it’s not like he’s looking to other out-of-their element doctors for advice.