On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that public health officials are raging about Dr. Scott Atlas, the radiologist and conservative think tank fellow who has become outgoing President Donald Trump's favorite coronavirus adviser.
"According to multiple officials familiar with the matter, Atlas has recently pushed White House officials to find ways to prevent states from introducing what he sees as needless and restrictive stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines and mask mandates," reported Erin Blanco and Hunter Woodall. "Officials said Atlas views any action that limits gatherings, including holiday celebrations, as a reversal of the reopening playbook he helped install this summer — a strategy that many prominent health experts point to as one of the reasons the U.S. is in its current predicament."
"Officials who spoke to The Daily Beast for this story say they are concerned about the degree to which Atlas still maintains influence over President Donald Trump’s thinking about COVID-19. Especially as his public utterances have grown more sharply political," continued the report. One official said, “He's a destructive force. I mean, at this point, I don't know how else to explain what he's doing. It's really disruptive.”
Atlas' efforts to undermine state health measures comes as two drug companies move forward with developing promising vaccines.
"Officials have also pushed back on Atlas’ resistance to adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on social distancing and masks," said the report. "In a call with the nation’s governors Monday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said despite the fact that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would likely reach a critical mass in the next several months, 'it is important to double down on what we can do now.'"