Stanford Med Faculty Rips Trump’s New Favorite COVID Doc: Peddling ‘Falsehoods’

Member of the coronavirus task force Scott Atlas listens to President Donald Trump during a briefing at the White House on August 10, 2020. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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September 10, 2020 3:39 p.m.
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A group of 78 researchers and doctors from Stanford Medical School issued a letter on Wednesday that rebuked Dr. Scott Atlas, who President Trump appointed to the White House coronavirus task force last month, for peddling “falsehoods and misrepresentations of science.”

Atlas —a neuroradiologist who is not an epidemiologist and has no significant experience with treating infectious diseases — was a regular fixture on Fox News prior to joining the White House coronavirus task force last month. Atlas often bolstered Trump’s public downplaying of COVID-19 by dismissing the need to wear masks to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, advocating for in-person instruction to resume at schools amid surging COVID-19 cases nationwide and asserting that it was “very important” that herd immunity develop even before a vaccine was ready.

In a “Dear Colleagues” letter issued on Wednesday, the Stanford experts wrote that they have a “moral and ethical responsibility” to dispute Atlas’ unfounded claims on COVID-19, which they described as “opinions and statements (that) run counter to established science” and “undermine public health authorities and the credible science that guides effective public health policy.”

Although the letter did not specifically cite Atlas’ past comments, the Stanford experts included a list based on a “preponderance of data” that disproved Atlas’ controversial assertions — which include denouncing the use of natural “herd immunity” as “not a safe public health strategy” that there can have “serious short-term and long-term consequences” for children and young people who contract COVID-19.

The Stanford experts concluded their letter by warning against the “failure to follow the science – or deliberately misrepresenting the science,” which they wrote “will lead to immense avoidable harm.”

The White House did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Read the “Dear Colleagues” letter below:

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