Dr. Scott Atlas: Trump’s New Coronavirus Adviser Backs Him on Schools & Sports

Dr. Scott Atlas

Getty/ Brendan Smialowski Dr. Scott Atlas at the Aug. 10 coronavirus press briefing at the White House.

Dr. Scott Atlas is the newest addition to the White House coronavirus task force — and one who agrees with many of President Donald Trump‘s views, including the need to open all schools nationally this fall.

Atlas is a fellow at the Hoover Institute — a Stanford University think tank founded in 1939 by President Herbert Hoover to fight counter communist influence in the world, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Holding a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Illinois and a Master’s from the University of Chicago School of Medicine, Atlas is a frequent Fox News guest, who echoes many of Trump’s beliefs about COVID-19, and was added to the task force this week, CNN reported.

Here’s what you need to know about Atlas and his views:

1. Atlas Is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Working in Health Care Policy, & He Advised Rudy Giuliani & Mitt Romney During Their Presidential Bids

Dr. Scott Atlas 2

Hoover InstitutionDr. Scott Atlas

Atlas works in health care policy at the Hoover Institution, focusing on the “impact of government and the private sector on access, quality, pricing and innovation,” according to his Stanford profile.

When Trump confidante and supporter, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, ran as a Republican for president in 2007, Atlas worked on his policy team, advising him on health care and pushing for private-sector, consumer choice-focused policy, according to a release at Physicians for a National Health Program.

He also advised former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign, despite previously criticizing Romney’s policies, CNN reported at the time.

Atlas also wrote a leading radiology textbook that has been translated into three other languages and is in its fourth edition, according to his Stanford profile.

2. He Has Criticized the National Lockdown as an Overreaction in News Hits & Says Opening Schools Should Be a National Priority

Dr. Scott Atlas tells Americans not to panic as case numbers rise in the United States2020-07-24T15:48:21Z

Atlas has been a consistent voice downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, supporting the opening of all schools in the fall and insisting that citizens shouldn’t “panic” over recent spikes in deaths.

On a July 24 local news program, Atlas said that children “have extremely low risk” when it comes to coronavirus — much less than the seasonal flu.

“It’s absolutely a national priority to educate our children, and there should be no doubt about that,” Atlas said, reiterating that he believes children are unlikely to spread the virus to adults and teachers. “If you don’t do that, you’re not prioritizing the children at all.”

In an appearance the same day on Laura Ingraham‘s Fox show, just after Trump cancelled the Jacksonville, Florida, portion of the Republican National Convention over coronavirus concerns, Atlas pressed further on the need to reopen the economy and schools. “This is not out of control here,” he said.

“The children are not at risk at all, and we absolutely must re-open the schools,” he added.

And on May 25, Atlas co-authored an opinion piece in the Hill criticizing the lockdown as an overreaction, despite being “well-intentioned.”

Atlas and his colleagues — John Birge, Ralph Keeney and Alexander Lipton — noted the economic cost of the lockdown, estimating it would cost $1.1 trillion of national economic output for each month it went on. Further, they argued that suicide and drug abuse numbers would rise and people would die because they forewent non virus-related medical treatment.

3. He Also Agrees With Trump That College Sports Should Resume This Season

Trump pushes college football amid cancellationsPresident Donald Trump is urging college football to continue its fall tradition on a day when the Big Ten and Pac-12, announced teams won’t play this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Aug. 11) Subscribe for more Breaking News: smarturl.it/AssociatedPress Website: apnews.com Twitter: twitter.com/AP Facebook: facebook.com/APNews Google+: plus.google.com/115892241801867723374 Instagram: instagram.com/APNews/ ​ You can license this…2020-08-12T01:07:05Z

Atlas went on Fox News again this week to push for college football to resume, echoing Trump’s recent public statements. College athletes “couldn’t get a better and safer environment” during the pandemic, he said.

Big Ten leadership announced this week that the season would be postponed, possibly until spring. Trump quickly signaled his strong disagreement.

Trump told sportswriter Clay Travis canceling the season would be a “tragic mistake,” and that college athletes are better equipped to survive a bout with the virus than just about anyone, Alabama.com reported.

”These people are so powerful and so strong — not lots of body fat, although you could take a couple of offensive linemen and dispute that — they are very healthy people,” Trump said. “People don’t realize it is a tiny percentage of people that get sick. They are old. It attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts and diabetes.”

At an Aug. 11 White House coronavirus press briefing, Trump reiterated the point, also adding

“Hopefully a lot of great people are going to be out there playing football, and they’re going to be able to fight it off, and most of them will never get it, statistically,” he said. “Get out there and play football. People want to see it.”

Atlas agrees with Trump, telling Fox that if players have comorbidities or are “afraid,” they can likely “opt out” of playing.

4. Trump Added Atlas to the Coronavirus Task Force This Week & He Made His Speaking Debut at the Aug. 12 White House Briefing

Scott Atlas 3

Getty/Brendan SmialowskiDr. Scott Atlas, left of Trump, at a coronavirus press briefing on Aug. 10.

Atlas has been present — although without a speaking role — at the three coronavirus briefings and has informally advised Trump for weeks, CNN reported.

Two sources told CNN that Trump brought Atlas on board as a friendly voice, to potentially counter other experts on the task force he considers too alarmist, like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx.

Atlas has indeed echoed President Trump’s concerns about the “cure being worse than the disease” when it comes to coronavirus protections and lockdowns — almost word-for-word.

“We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” Trump tweeted back in March.

And on May 12, Atlas said in a Fox News appearance that politicians are being “sort of medically naive themselves” by investing in the “bizarre notion of stopping [coronavirus] at all costs.” He criticized the national lockdowns as an overreaction.

“The cure is bigger than the disease at this point, and not to mention the massive economic harm,” Atlas told Martha McCallum.

At the Aug. 12 White House briefing, Atlas spoke briefly for the first time, simply praising Trump for his handling of the pandemic, as well as the task force experts working “24/7.”

“I’m new here and I’m really just starting to get involved … I hope I can help out in some way.”

5. Conservatives Rejoiced & the White House Preemptively Defended Atlas After He Joined the Task Force

Conservative lawmakers and commentators — including Trump himself — have long been critical of Dr. Fauci’s advice to the president and characterized him as an alarmist.

Atlas appears to be more aligned with Trump’s feelings and goals when it comes to the virus.

Some reacted enthusiastically to him joining the task force in an official capacity. “Pinch me. Am I dreaming?” reporter Scott Morefield, of The Daily Caller and Townhall.com, tweeted.

Blaze host Steve Deace called Atlas “our Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “our only hope.”

White House spokesman Judd Deere preemptively defended Atlas, a “world renowned physician and scholar of advanced medical care and health care policy,” and his place on the task force when CNN reached out to him.

“Only the media would distort and diminish Dr. Atlas’ highly acclaimed career simply because he has come to serve the president,” Deere said.

Heavy reached out to Atlas for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

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