Trump Finds His Medical Rasputin

The newest addition to Trump’s coronavirus task force is a faux expert who just happens to share all of Trump’s views.

President Trump has added a new member to his coronavirus task force, Dr. Scott Atlas.  It’s no wonder that Trump loves Dr. Atlas, a retired Stanford radiologist who frequently appears on Fox.  Atlas thinks  “we are committing national suicide” if we continue serious health precautions against the coronavirus.

Here are more of Dr. Atlas’s dubious ideas:

Don’t worry about old people. The lives of the elderly should be given little weight in policymaking; only a person’s life expectancy matters.  By this standard, Atlas argues, it’s better to let the coronavirus spread than to have lockdowns. I’m glad I wasn’t one of his patients, given how little value he gives the lives of people my age.

COVID-19 is no biggie.  Ninety-nine percent of people “have no serious illness” from the virus, so it’s silly to try to stop the spread. Instead, we should adopt the same policy that the UK initially tried — let the disease spread freely while the elderly socially distance themselves. As Dr. Atlas puts it: “We must not forget that total lockdown — not the virus — is generating catastrophic harms.”

All schools should reopen immediately, with zero health precautions.  According to Atlas, there’s no health risk to students or teachers, and students can’t spread the disease to others at home.  No health precautions are needed “when we now know that social distancing and face coverings for children are completely unnecessary.” Social distancing is bad. It subjects students to “an unhealthy, uncomfortable and anti-educational environment.”

The rightwing Hoover Institution has given Dr. Atlas a home and promotes his views on its website. Like Fox and Friends, it seems happy to tell President Trump whatever he wants to hear. I guess that makes Dr. Atlas the Sean Hannity of medical advisors.

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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