Trump Medical Advisor Dr. Scott Atlas Pushing for ‘Herd Immunity’ by Allowing More COVID-19 Infections: Report
Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no background in infectious diseases, is reportedly pushing for “herd immunity” by allowing more Americans to get COVID-19 infections.
“Five people familiar with the discussions” told The Washington Post that the Trump White House has started to implement these policies, which copy Sweden.
Sweden lifted restrictions so that healthy people could build up “herd immunity” to COVID-19, but could not control who actually got infected and now has one of the highest infection and death rates in the world.
Paul Romer, a professor at New York University who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2018, warned against this tactic in The Washington Post:
The administration faces some pretty serious hurdles in making this argument. One is a lot of people will die, even if you can protect people in nursing homes.
Atlas refused to comment until The Washington Post story was published, and, predictably, vented his outrage and denial:
There is no policy of the president or this administration of achieving herd immunity. There never has been any such policy recommended to the president or to anyone else from me.
However, Atlas supported “herd immunity” in an op-ed for The Hill on April 22:
We know from decades of medical science that infection itself allows people to generate an immune response — antibodies — so that the infection is controlled throughout the population by “herd immunity.” Indeed, that is the main purpose of widespread immunization in other viral diseases — to assist with population immunity.
Atlas — who works for the pro-corporate Hoover Institute — told Fox News in July “it doesn’t matter” if people get COVID-19:
It doesn’t matter if you get the illness if you’re going to fully recover and be fine from it.
Atlas called for reopening schools, but praised Trump for canceling the Republican National Convention for safety during an interview with San Diego’s KUSI on July 8.