by UnHerd
Tuesday, 20
October 2020
Video
13:19

Scott Atlas: I’m disgusted and dismayed

Donald Trump's senior advisor talks to Freddie Sayers from the White House
by UnHerd

Podcast version:

Freddie Sayers caught up with Scott Atlas, a healthcare policy academic from the Hoover Institute at Stanford, who has become the latest lightning rod for the controversy around Covid-19 policy and his support for a more targeted response.


Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email

Already registered? Sign in


Speaking from inside the White House, where he is now Senior advisor to the President and a member of the Coronavirus task force, he does not hold back. He tells us that he is disgusted and dismayed at the media and public policy establishment, sad that it has come to this, cynical about their intentions, and angry that lockdown policies have been allowed to go on so long.

He won’t be rushing back to Stanford, where his colleagues have rounded on him, if the President loses in November.

KEY QUOTES

Why him?
“I’m a healthcare policy person — I have a background in medical science, but my role really is to translate medial science into public policy. That’s very different from being an epidemiologist or a virologist with a single, limited view on things.”

Dr Fauci
“He’s just one person on the task force — there are several people on the task force. His background is virology, immunology and infectious disease. It’s a very different background, it’s a more limited approach, and I don’t speak for him.”

Herd immunity policy?
“No. It’s a repeated distortion, lie, or whatever you want to call it… What they mean by ‘herd immunity strategy’ is survival of the fittest, let the infection spread through the community and develop a population immunity. That’s never been the policy that I have advised. It’s never even been discussed inside the White House, not even for a single minute. And that’s never been the policy of the President of the United States or anybody else here. I’ve said that many many times… and yet it persists like so many other things, hence the term that the President is fond of using called fake news.”

On herd immunity
“Population immunity is a biological phenomenon that occurs. It’s sort of like if you’re building something in your basement: it’s down on the ground because gravity puts it there. It’s not a ‘strategy’ to say that herd immunity exists — it is obtained when a certain percentage of the population becomes resistant or immune to an infection, whether that is by getting infected or getting a vaccine or by a combination of both. In fact, if you don’t that believe herd immunity exists as a way to block the pathways to the vulnerable in an infection, then you would never advocate or believe in giving widespread vaccination — that’s the whole point of it… I’ve explained it to people who seemingly didn’t understand it; I’ve mentioned this radioactive word called herd immunity. But that’s not a strategy that anyone is pursuing.”

What is his policy?
“My advice is exactly this. It’s a three-pronged strategy. Number one: aggressive protection of high risk individuals and the vulnerable (typically the elderly and those with co-morbidities). Number two: allocate resources so that we prevent hospital overcrowding, so that people can be treated for this virus and get the other serious medical care that is needed. Number three: open schools, society and businesses because keeping them closed is enormously harmful — in fact it kills people.”

Has the policy changed?
“It is the White House policy on Coronavirus, but it always was. The President started this with an observation that was overlooked by most people in the world: he said in the third week of March that the cure cannot be worse than the disease… In April the White House released a formal ‘opening up America’ document, which included extreme protection of the vulnerable and opening up society… It’s not been a shift.”

Effect of lockdowns
“We must open up because we’re killing people. In the US, 46% of the six most common cancers were not diagnosed during the shutdown… These are people who will present to the hospital or their doctor with later stage disease — many of these people will die. 650,000 Americans are on chemotherapy ­— half of them didn’t come in for their chemo because they were afraid. Two-thirds of screenings for cancer were not done; half of childhood immunisations did not get done; 85% of living organ transplants did not get done. And then we see the other harms: 200,000 cases plus of child abuse in the US during the two months of spring school closures were not reported because schools are the number one agency where abuse is noticed; we have one out of four American young adults, college age, who thought of killing themselves in the month of June…

All of these harms are massive for the working class and the lower socioeconomic groups. The people who are upper class, who can work from home, the people who can sip their latte and complain that their children are underfoot or that they have to come up with extra money to hire a tutor privately — these are people who are not impacted by the lockdowns.

This is the topic, this is why you open up. A secondary gain might be population immunity, but this is the reason to open up.”

On short-term immunity
“We don’t know how long someone’s immunity lasts to this, but this is a coronavirus, this is not a completely novel disease… Coronavirus exposure typically has a year, or even a few years, of immunity — we can make a first guess that probably there’s a good chance that will happen… Yes, we know that antibodies disappear… but that’s true for every infection, that’s a typical scenario and not a cause for panic. Why? Because we know there is resistance to infection that seems to be coming out in the literature that is not purely due to antibodies, there are other components of the immune system. Suffice to say this: do we know that people have immunity? You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that when you hundreds of millions of cases… do you know how many cases of reinfection there are? At the most, five in the world… It is not true that there is no immunity to this, that would be a bizarre conclusion.”

Climate of fear
“This is one of the biggest failures of the voices of public health in the United States and in the world — they specifically instilled fear with their proclamations and statements… And the models that were put forward that were worst case scenarios and were just hideously wrong, and the media that has hyped up these rare exceptions like multi-system inflammation in children even though we know the overwhelming evidence is that this disease is absolutely not high risk for children. All the hyperbole, the sensationalising and the failure of public health officials to articulate what we know instead of what we don’t know… The fear is due to what was said by the so-called experts, by the media and by a failure to understand or care that they were instilling hear… I just heard a famous epidemiologist from Harvard the other day say that to have the idea of herd immunity even being discussed is ‘mass murder’ — these kinds of statements are hideously outrageous.

It’s never appropriate to have fear. There is no such thing as a government leader who is competent who instils fear.”

How to protect old people
“We have not been perfect at it, there’s no question — it’s very challenging. The first is to educate people: put forward the guidelines. I think our society has learned — no-one knew what social distancing meant… that was a foreign concept and we now understand that — but there are more specific measures. We have shipped every single nursing home point of care rapid testing — we have mandated weekly testing of every staff that enters a nursing home, but when there is community increase we recommend going up to… four times a week.

We cannot guarantee that we can protect everybody — there is not such thing as zero risk in life…”

But
“I have a 93 year old mother in law, and she said to me 2 months ago, “I’m not interested in being confined in my home. I am not interested in living if that’s the life… I’m old enough to take a risk, I understand social distancing. I’m going to function, otherwise there’s no reason to live.” This sort of bizarre, maybe well-intentioned but misguided idea that we are going to eliminate all risk from life, we are going to stop people from taking any risk that they are well aware of, we’re going to close down businesses, we’re going to stop schools — these are inappropriate and destructive policies.

There are between 30,000 and 90,000 people a year that die — that are high risk elderly — in the United States every flu season. We don’t shut down schools in response to that…”

Is it politics?
“I see that there is a different philosophy in life. In my own family we have different views on things. But we need to start by looking at the data.

One thing that’s been really shocking to me is that in the US and I think all over the world, we have a really contaminated media. Their politics has really distorted truth… I think that has now contaminated public policy and science. There’s been a massive distortion — a complete almost disregard for objectivity, including in some of what were the world’s best journals like Lancet, New England Journal, Nature, Science: these people feel compelled to be politically visible, and that’s contaminated the discussion.”

On test and trace
“Now, there are 7 million registered cases in the US but even the CDC says that it’s probably tenfold that, that’s 70 million people at least; if we look at the world’s cases, maybe 40 million cases but we know that it’s probably 10 to 20 times that. So it’s not possible to do things like contact tracing and isolating asymptomatic people.

A lot of these people who have very fancy CVs have engaged in very sloppy thinking. And now, partly because it’s a political year in the US with a massively polarised electorate, the politics have entered the scene and there’s a massive amount of digging in to the original beliefs even though they are completely wrong…”

On his own reputation
“My position here is not political — zero politics. My motivation was that the President of the United States asked me, a public health policy person who understands medical science, to help in the biggest healthcare crisis of the century. There would be something wrong with you if you would say no to that, no matter what your politics…

When I did that though, I knew I would be vilified, because in the US there are a lot of people who think that this President is radioactive, so there is a massive destruction that ensues immediately when you associate with this President. It’s a very sad statement on America, on American culture, on the world — these people are blinded, even scientists, to the data because they despise the political side of this. And they have a massive ego, and can’t admit they’re wrong. Ok I’m a contrarian, I’m used to being a contrarian, I’m proud to be an outlier when the inliers are wrong.

I’ve gone through various levels of being angry. I’m not angry but I’m sort of disgusted and dismayed at the state of things… It’s just sad to me. I’m cynical about the state we’re in right now and the future… I’m disturbed. I have children of my own who are in their twenties, and I wonder what the future is if we have lost truth in the media, to a great extent, and we are now starting to lose truth in science…

I am angry at the people who were wrong and who insist on prolonging these policies that are killing people, particularly people who are not in their socioeconomic class. It’s no problem for a person who has a high level job in government, or an academic job, to sit there and pontificate when the average guy is being destroyed. That I am angry about and I think history will record these people very harshly — it is an epic failure of massive proportion that they have abandoned regular people here with their own hubris and political agenda. In that sense – yeah I’m angry.”

On masks
“Things like universal mask wearing — honestly that is contrary to the science as well as common sense, to think that you need to wear a mask when you’re in the middle of the desert, when you’re in the car on your own, when you’re bicycling through St James’s Park. This kind of stuff is nonsense. There is no science to support universal masking.

You can look at LA County, Miami-Dade county, many states in the US, the Philippines, Spain, France, the UK, all over the world mandating masks does not stop for the population does not stop cases. That is just super naïve, wrong, and that’s just garbage science really. The WHO does not recommend widespread mandatory masks, the NIH does not recommend that, the CDC data itself shows that that doesn’t work. That’s bordering on wearing a copper bracelet as far as I am concerned.

I do think masks have a role… in medicine we wear masks for surgical procedures. The reason you wear a mask is when you’re very close to somebody, or a sterile environment like an open incision, you want to stop a cough or droplets from getting in there and infecting something. That’s very different from breathing… If you’re socially distanced, there’s no reason to wear a mask.”

On the Stanford letter
“They expose themselves for who they were when they wrote that letter… It’s preposterous what was said. But I have a lot of support inside Hoover Institution, a lot of support in faculty… I certainly have lost some friends, there’s no question about that — would I do it again? Absolutely. It’s the most important thing I’ve ever done.

I’m disgusted by politics – completely disgusted — and it’s a sad statement. People were exposed when someone came into power who they didn’t agree with it they were exposed for who they were. That’s a gross embarrassment, and its sad.. There’s a tremendous amount of emotion rather than rational thought.”

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
73 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
2 years ago

Brilliant. Well done Dr Atlas. Thank you for being the bearer of the truth even though it has personally cost you. Bold , sane and another voice of reason.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
2 years ago

Anyone else under the impression that this lockdown is no longer about containing the coronavirus?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

that’s been the impression in parts of the US for some time. Too many things do not add up. There have been stories about needless non-Covid deaths due to people being denied access to medical care. There have been stories about parents frustrated over their children’s (lack of) education and the social impact.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

A nurse was in tears in our church meeting because young people were dying in her wards from cancer that wasn’t treated earlier because of Covid.

delchriscrean
delchriscrean
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Not I

Tricia Butler
Tricia Butler
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Yes. It hasn’t been for some time now.

Gerald Brothers
Gerald Brothers
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

From what I see the lockdown fight is about political power. Part of our polarization. If the Right proposes then the Left has to oppose.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 years ago

But are you surprised?
It’s no problem for a person who has a high level job in government, or an academic job, to sit there and pontificate when the average guy is being destroyed.
Good. I wondered if anyone else had noticed that the people mandating this or calling for that are never impacted themselves.

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Rules only apply to other people….

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

Shame that the fact that he is working for Trump, rather than what he is actually saying, will make him toxic to a lot of people who will discount what he is saying purely by association.

j.d.madeleine
j.d.madeleine
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Unfortunately you do have to realize that Trump is the president of the USA. I understand that people dislike him but he is the president. Who else is he supposed to work with that has more influence?

Julie S
Julie S
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Unfortunately the Great Barrington Declaration drs., who do not work for Trump, were discounted as well. Their apparent error was to have been hired by a Libertarian group.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

I know. I have seen that said in several places.

Julie S
Julie S
2 years ago

So how do we get this in place? I have been hunting down truth for the entire lockdown and agree with everything said here 100%, yet I live in the insanity of mask mandates and insane fear. How do we make this a reality with the MSM and politicians having put on and continuing a very strong show of fear mongering?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

You might enjoy this story courtesy of the way-back-machine in March: https://www.nbcnews.com/new

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

the way back machine reveals a story from NBC in March when Dr Birx said there would 200K deaths “if we do everything perfectly.” I tried posting the link, but no joy.

Julie S
Julie S
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I guess all that really means is that Dr. Birx could develop a truer model of the course of a virus than the outrageous models believed by others. She knew none of the lockdown protocol would change anything overall.

Julie S
Julie S
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

The Left has banned and censored Dr. Atlas, as they will with anyone else speaking truth against their fear narrative. The truth he speaks here, the drs. who penned the Great Barrington Declaration, the truth America’s Frontline drs. posted that the virus is 1000X smaller than a hair-yes a hair that you can see with your naked eye, that ends up embedded in the fabric of your clothes, the Covid-19 virus is 1000X smaller! You need a powerful microscope to even see a virus. Yet somehow people think a cloth mask will stop “some” of the virus?

Dr. Atlas says he has lost friends, which unfortunately is all that happens to any of us. We lose friends by speaking truth and they still follow the lies. This is not helpful to bring about change. So what will be?

Lula Mongo
Lula Mongo
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

Julie, I think that this has nothing to do with the left or the right, IMHO this has to do with $$$$

Julie S
Julie S
2 years ago
Reply to  Lula Mongo

And power. I get that too.

Adrian
Adrian
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

The mask fibres will stop some virus. But, having read papers that others purport to claim support virus wearing, it seems that cloth and paper masks shed dust which floats around a long time. Dust which just ‘stopped’ a coronavirus. Doh.

George Herman
George Herman
2 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Gotta give those masks some maintenance, same as every other thing you wear. A 5-minute soak in diluted bleach will clean and disinfect them.

ddwieland
ddwieland
2 years ago
Reply to  George Herman

But that’s got nothing to do with their effectiveness. Catching droplets is also catching tinier things in those droplets, some of which may be virus particles. If you’re in an infectious environment in which you might inhale enough to infect you, then any barrier is worthwhile. But the bleach soak recommendation isn’t helpful there. Also, every washing enlarges the pores and reduces the limited efficacy.

George Herman
George Herman
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

The mask debate leaves me shaking my head. How about some common sense? One doctor who wanted to drive home this same point about the smallness of the virus said it’s like trying to stop mosquitoes with chain link. A shockingly idiotic statement coming from a doctor with a wide internet audience. Intuitively, you just know this analogy is bunk. Of course the mask won’t stop all the virus. But the purpose of chain link is obviously to maximize visibility; is that the purpose of a mask? Completely different construction. Nevertheless, if you have a chain link with, let’s say, with a 20 to 1 ratio of open air to metal, you can still expect it to stop about 5% of a passive (in other words carried like droplets or aerosol, not intelligently self-propelled) mosquito cloud . Pretty simple, right? Just check the metal after the cloud has passed. It won’t be clean. The typical mask, obviously a much higher percentage (even more so if both parties are masked), and it’s just plain stupid not to wear it indoors or where distancing is not maintained.

It’s the SMALLEST accommodation, and draws the biggest resistance. That’s just plain idiotic, so you know something else is in play. So, is it really a freedom issue?

Most of the people I’ve heard mouthing off about this wouldn’t recognize real freedom if it bit them in the ass. I was born under Stalin’s rule and believe me, I know what real freedom is and what it means. For a little clip of some of these characters, try this: https://www.youtube.com/wat

joe_falconer
joe_falconer
2 years ago
Reply to  George Herman

You completely miss the real point (the one the Swedes make): those wearing masks think that they are protected and are therefore likely to get physically closer to other people than they otherwise would. Hence masks have the potential to promote transmission.

There are no great RCT research papers on mask effectiveness – the largest one ever done is currently suppressed by the large medical journals – you might guess why.

https://www.berlingske.dk/v

Rachel Chandler
Rachel Chandler
2 years ago

Thanks Freddie for another great interview. It’s good to hear from someone fighting for commonsense.

stephensjpriest
stephensjpriest
2 years ago

Good work unherd
‘No sign of a second wave’ as ONS data shows normal level of deaths for the time of year
People who would normally be expected to die of flu or pneumonia may instead be dying from Covid-19

There is no sign of a second wave, experts have said, as new Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show deaths are just 1.5 per cent above the five-year average, and tracking on a normal trajectory for this time of year.

Although coronavirus deaths rose to 438 for the week ending October 9 – an increase of 36 per cent from the previous week when it was 321 – overall deaths rose just 143 above the five-year average.

There were also 19 fewer overall deaths than the same week last year.

Experts at Oxford University say it would have to get to 1,200 more deaths above the norm before it would usually be considered ‘excess’ above the expected variation in the data.

Researchers also found there would usually be around 1,600 weekly deaths from flu and pneumonia for the same week. Deaths from coronavirus, flu and pneumonia are currently running at 1,621, suggesting there is virtually no increase in expected respiratory deaths.

read on
telegraph /news/2020/10/20/second-wave-not-sight-ons-figures-show-deaths-just-15-per-cent/

Julie S
Julie S
2 years ago

More truth, but only those of us who follow truth will ever even see this. Unfortunately we who believe truth are not in big enough or courageous enough numbers of people who will be bold enough to say, “NO MORE!,” to stop the insanity and get us moving forward to a real resolution.

david bewick
david bewick
2 years ago

Excellent! It is absolutely true that we are not in an abnormal position. Hospital admissions are not excessive for this time of year and the hospital count is 25% of the March peak. The position on excess deaths in domestic settings is dreadful but should’ve been picked up long before now as it’s been obvious since May. Hospital and care home deaths have been tracking beneath the 5 year average since then. It remains worrying and somewhat annoying that we still have this dangerous narrative around lockdowns perpetuated by the MSM. Perhaps more concerning is the absolute refusal for anyone in government, opposition, or the MSM to entertain any viewpoint other than this and anyone who does is dismissed as a crank or holding a “fringe” position. I heard a “doctor” yesterday dismiss Sunetra Gupta as a pseudo scientist and politically right wing! I’m not sure how far to the left you would have to be to come to that as my understanding is that she is left of centre in her politics and a pseudo scientist? Lord help us!
I also read (wish I could find it again!) that the first proper clinical trial on face masks has concluded that the initial science was correct, they have no impact on transmission. When asked when the report was to be published the people who ran the trial suggested they would have to find someone willing to publish it first!

Jason Mehrvarz
Jason Mehrvarz
2 years ago

What’s next? How do we change how things are being managed in California? How do we take this “power” away from Gavin Newsom? I have heard enough and would like to know how we can affect change?

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Mehrvarz

Protest, protest, protest. Write letters to the officials. Make your voice heard.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
2 years ago

There are studies that discover that
elderly people living in one household with younger generations, are
much less likely to get infected and fall ill than elderly people who
are living with other elderly in nursing homes. So the multigenerational
natire of households will in fact protect the vulnerable much better
than isolation. Also, the nursing homes must be open for visitors and
physical touch (hugs and kisses) by visitors. It is not quite true that
the elderly in nursing homes get ill because infected by someone from
outside. They get ill and deteriorate because of hopelessness,
depression, feeling of being abandoned, loneliness. It is a very well
known fact in psychology and brain science, that for instance, the
Stanford professor Robert Ornstein has written a lot about. There must
be studies in immunology and virology, how the human connectedness,
physical and mental, especially across the generations, and the
perceived meaning of one’s life contribute to physical health and
longevity.

Trishia A
Trishia A
2 years ago
Reply to  Lena Bloch

The sedentary, enclosed, imposition of senior’s homes is terrible. But the death stats are not just a seniors’ homes focus, but also palliative care centres.
What all governments should have focused on first was stopping international travel. Second, they should have set in place HEALTH directives, improved food, improved exercise, improve living conditions, and subsidised that, instead of subsidising economic destruction.
In France, health officials are being taken to court. It should happen everywhere.

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
2 years ago

Love this guy. A true hero. He almost makes me emotional. Already a fan since june.

Elizabeth McKay
Elizabeth McKay
2 years ago

This is one of the most impressive exchanges I have heard since the pandemic started. I have been an opponent of the lockdowns beyond the initial “2 weeks to stop the spread.” I became very concerned when I started hearing the phrase “new normal”. As an oncology nurse navigator, I am alarmed by the pending tsunami of advanced stage cancers that will present in the coming months. I am also saddened by the immense collateral damage that has been done to our country and world by destruction of thousands of small businesses, interrupting our children’s educations, isolating people and increasing mental illness, increase in child and elder abuse. More lives have been destroyed and will be lost because of COVID19 policy rather than direct death from the virus. Thank you Dr. Atlas for your practical insight to the lunacy that has enveloped our world.

Ruth Learner
Ruth Learner
2 years ago

Those people with fancy CVs should take a leaf out of his book – on C-19 public health policy, he is articulate, rational, intelligent and, understandably, disgusted. Given the logistics of locking down 60 or so million people, how hard would it be to target protection to, say, 25 million people (at a stretch)? WTF is going on?

Trishia A
Trishia A
2 years ago

This was excellent. Thanks again UnHerd for great Covid lockdown criticism. It’s sad the way the media is so into fear mongering.

It would be nice eventually to see a critical piece by UnHerd about how media has gone to the dogs!

In the USA context:
Some say that the creation of FOX News was the impetus for CNN to move from centrist to Left, and MSNBC was always there anyway, while some say that FOX was created as a reaction to CNN’s move to the Left bias. This needs further examination

In the Canadian context:
The mandate of the CBC used to be information, but nearly two decades ago, its mandate was changed to “representation” (like calling out your area code at a hip hop concert!)

In UK, Australia, New Zealand, I have no big picture view of their media.

We need a huge investigation on media bias.

Minette Gargurevich
Minette Gargurevich
2 years ago

WHY IS ATLAS so AFRAID TO SAY YES TO NATURAL HERD IMMUNITY. It should be spoken of to the public to clear the fear , to educate them and without a doubt used as one of the approaches to manage viruses. This strategy which is a biological function of Nature to lessen a viruses prevalence should be accompanied of course with treatments at onset or for prevention . Elderly and sick quarantine. Nonsense that they had no idea what to do !!!! This was all planned . MODERNA TRIED GETTING A PATENT For THIS VIRUS IN MARCH 2019 . And what about THE PANDEMIC SIMULATION AT JOHNS HOPKINS IN NY IN OCT 2019 funded by Gates . Public Health Fauci and the Pharma Mafia are running the show . politicians are playing power trip games and filling up their bank accounts. And Humans are allowing this because unfortunately they lack critical thinking.

Lula Mongo
Lula Mongo
2 years ago

Minette, herd immunity is not a strategy, its a biological given, that’s what he said. Otherwise, I agree with the rest.

Adrian
Adrian
2 years ago

It’s not a conspiracy. But when people get the idea that they can turn the tide, that’s what they try to do. They get stuck in a narrative and start picking facts to suit their story.

All these ‘what would happen if we all got Ebola’ “documentaries”, has addled our minds

Face Savant
Face Savant
2 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Ebola is totally different, someone with ebola would have symptoms and die very quickly after infected.

Trishia A
Trishia A
2 years ago

Because as he explained, the coronavirus family offers very little immunity, from a few months, to a best a year. It’s why we have no “cold vaccines”. We will never achieve “herd immunity” with any Coronavirus. All we achieve is some degree of normalcy after the dry tinder is burned. For future generations, the more exposure during youth, while Coronavirus fighting capacity is high, the more potential they will have down the road.

Terri
Terri
2 years ago

Enjoyed the interview – I am a fan of Scott Atlas and always listen to his advice – he is the only voice of reason and sanity in all of the dictatorial mandates forced on each of us. Too many people drink the kool aide, and I’m not one of them!

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
2 years ago

Generally a very good interview.

One point made by Mr. Sayers (and not clarified by Dr. Atlas), however, was a reference to Dr. Atlas being “back in California” in late November if Biden wins the presidential election. Inauguration Day is January 20, 2021, so Trump is the U.S. President until then, regardless of the election outcome.

While COVID policy across the U.S. is to a large degree set by state governments, it’s worth noting that federal government COVID policy won’t change until late January even if Biden wins the election. It’s also, of course, unknown at this point what the COVID situation in the U.S. will look like by late January.

A fair number of the actions that fit under the federal government’s purview – such as funding vaccine development or setting infection control regulations for nursing homes – are already underway. To that point about state vs. federal actions, the government rules that have a concrete impact on people’s day-to-day life – from mandated business closures to capacity restrictions on businesses to government mandates about wearing masks – are clearly state and local responsibilities. There could be quick changes such as different CDC guidelines under a new administration, but that’s not legally binding on state and local governments. There are some levers that the federal government can pull such as tying federal funding for states to certain required policy actions, but historically U.S. courts have ruled that such ability to compel actions by states has limits. Such tying would also generally require Congress to pass legislation, not just executive or administrative action. Such legislation might pass if Democrats control both houses of Congress, but there’s no guarantee it would be a quick process.

David Drumright
David Drumright
2 years ago

Okay, everything Atlas says is good science and solid common sense, but it doesn’t matter. His advice has no more force than our comments right here.

Trump isn’t ACTING on this advice. He’s still allowing the bad governors to lockdown forever. Presidents have the power to STOP bad governors if they want to. Trump obviously doesn’t want to protect the country from bad governors and bad mayors.

Jason Mehrvarz
Jason Mehrvarz
2 years ago

So this just comes down to Trump to overrule the bad governors?

Connie T
Connie T
2 years ago

Joe Biden would never ever ever stop the bad governors. He’d over ride the good ones. So- vote accordingly.

Tricia Butler
Tricia Butler
2 years ago

As much as I can’t stand my governor (Gruesome Gavin Newsom and his Covid response), I don’t want Trump taking control of the state of California, that’s not how our government works.

Face Savant
Face Savant
2 years ago
Reply to  Tricia Butler

Although, a little more balance of power would be nice in California.

David Booth
David Booth
2 years ago

Very helpful interview indeed, from both of two points of view: understanding the alternative to current policies in most of Europe; and understanding what is going on in the US.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
2 years ago

It’s coincidental but appropriate that Freddie’s interview with Scott Atlas would be published the same day that Gertjan Vlieghe, an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, gave his speech “Assessing the Health of the Economy”, an apologia for the strict lockdown measures that Atlas deplores. Although it is interesting for its integration of pandemic-related data in instrumental variables equations predicting real GDP, Vlieghe uses COVID-19-related deaths as an explanatory variable, not excess deaths. In fact, there is no reference to excess deaths or excess mortality anywhere in his speech, nor any reference to the Great Barrington Declaration. Vlieghe puts forth a defence of the existing government policy without even deigning to recognize the criticisms of it by Atlas and others. He also ignores the obvious fact that Sweden especially, but also the United States, did much better in the first half of 2020 in limiting the decline in national real GDP than the UK did.

Minette Gargurevich
Minette Gargurevich
2 years ago

THE UNITED STATES IS SLEEPING! MANY BELIEVE THAT PUBLIC HEALTH CARES FOR YOU WHEN IN REALITY THEY ARE THE ONES DESTROYING YOUR HEALTH. 60% of adults and 54% of children are ill and on medications. We are the sickest nation among the richest nations. Third leading cause of death is MALPRACTICE AND THE FOURTH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IS PRESCRIPTION DRUGS .FAUCI HAS A PATENT ON COVID VACCINE AND COVID DRUG REMDESEVIR . I WISH YOU ALL WOULD WAKE UP AND FIGHT . This virus did not show up accidentally. 9 months before a presidential election along with BLM RIOTS . Critical thinking is fundamental for freedom but is lacking among this nation’s people .

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
2 years ago

Love this guy! A true hero! This guy almost makes me emotional. Already a fan since june: https://www.youtube.com/wat

andrey
andrey
2 years ago

It’s great that Dr. Atlas is recognizing political & sociological factors behind SUSTAINING of #CovidPsychosis by TDS-addled media & their uncritical followers – including bureaucrat “experts.”
An urgent next step is to focus on POLITICAL means to move US beyond our 7 months & counting #StuckOnLockDownStupid stage.
Americas Frontline Doctors pointed the way couple of months ago by offering a message of realistic hope (based on 1000s of cases of effective, early, in home treatment of Covid) as a way to overcome media-fueled mass-panic.
Unfortunately, instead of immediately endorsing this solution (e.g. through presidential executive orders making Hydroxychloroquine unconditionally available to all patients who ask for it – including for preventive treatment), Trump Administration has continued to wait for “any moment now” vaccines – while “Covid-deaths” (as they are counted) keep tick-tocking at 1000 per week; many schools remain closed for in-person learning & undecided voters’ exhaustion with months of fear might yet cost Trump – otherwise unlosable reelection.

Connie T
Connie T
2 years ago
Reply to  andrey

Before voting “against Trump” I hope people will think about what voting “for Biden” would mean. He himself says he supports a national mandatory mask mandate and that if the scientists (Fauci) tell him to, he will lockdown the entire country again. Even 3 months from now. Then, too, look how he spent the last 7 months of his personal life.

Saeed Qureshi
Saeed Qureshi
2 years ago
delchriscrean
delchriscrean
2 years ago

You cannot help but be impressed by someone who seems so very open and honest, added to which claims to have no political motivation. However, there was insufficient “meat on the bone” when it came to what appeared to be a simple 3 pronged strategy. 1. Protect the vulnerable… how? What form would this take? The suggestion I heard in a previous interview was they would be expected to imprison themselves in their homes for months on end, having shopping delivered etc…. I don’t think so thankyou! 2. Make sure there are sufficient medical resources to cope with the virus and maintain existing services…. How? 3. Keep schools open… this one is a simple statement with which I totally agree.
As this has gone on, my husband a I have become increasingly frustrated at the real lack of information… for instance, we get deaths announced every day but it is not a daily death toll, it is just a number accumulated over a period of time (with the majority within the last few days admittedly). There is no indication of the locality or ages of the deceased, although surely this information must be available. We are told how many people have been admitted to hospital but not how many have been discharged. The daily positive test figures are just as misleading because of variable times taken to process and collate them. So we are like mushrooms…. kept in the dark and having manure thrown at us.
We have learned about this virus though. We know it thrives in situations where lots of people are gathered in an enclosed space sharing the same air. It doesn’t seem to do so well in the open or we would have seen huge numbers of infections following the excessive crowds on the beaches a couple of months back. We have been given guidance on how to mitigate the risks, yet a percentage choose not to follow that guidance… they see suppression and conspiracy at every turn. And there is no doubt in my mind that the media, political parties and factions have all sought to further their cause or at least define themselves by casting doubt on anything the government tries to do, so there is a call for a nationwide lockdown which I, for one, would have difficulty in supporting as I did last time.
This virus has always been dependant on human behaviour to thrive… if we choose to continue feeding it, it will continue to reproduce so we either contain it or accept the consequences without blaming anyone but ourselves.

Trishia A
Trishia A
2 years ago
Reply to  delchriscrean

The imprison comment. Well we have a choice, voluntary isolation for the vulnerable, or imprisonment of the entire population. I’ll vote for the first any day.

Trishia A
Trishia A
2 years ago

test

Carrie Shapiro
Carrie Shapiro
2 years ago

When speaking about masks, the one time he gives specific thoughts, he is very unhelpful. Who recommends wearing a mask in a car? The recommendation is to wear a mask when you can’t social distance, like walking around a city. He sets up a false argument. Very annoying. He totally lost me at that point.

On masks
“Things like universal mask wearing ” honestly that is contrary to the science as well as common sense, to think that you need to wear a mask when you’re in the middle of the desert, when you’re in the car on your own, when you’re bicycling through St James’s Park. This kind of stuff is nonsense. There is no science to support universal masking.

You can look at LA County, Miami-Dade county, many states in the US, the Philippines, Spain, France, the UK, all over the world mandating masks does not stop for the population does not stop cases. That is just super naïve, wrong, and that’s just garbage science really. The WHO does not recommend widespread mandatory masks, the NIH does not recommend that, the CDC data itself shows that that doesn’t work. That’s bordering on wearing a copper bracelet as far as I am concerned.

I do think masks have a role”¦ in medicine we wear masks for surgical procedures. The reason you wear a mask is when you’re very close to somebody, or a sterile environment like an open incision, you want to stop a cough or droplets from getting in there and infecting something. That’s very different from breathing”¦ If you’re socially distanced, there’s no reason to wear a mask.”

eloyacano
eloyacano
2 years ago
Reply to  Carrie Shapiro

Unfortunately, some governments are requiring people to wear masks even when no one else is about and we’re outside. Mine does. (Except for the very politicians who make the rules. They can do whatever they want.) The fact that some do wear masks while in car their cars suggests unwarranted fear.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago

Excellent interview and hard to believe he’s surviving in the Trump environment. I’ve been listening mostly to Tegnell and Giesecke who I believe are on the right track but Scott is an awful lot more articulate than them. Impressive – a courageous and principled individual, unfortunately in the minority.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
2 years ago

-“No. It’s a repeated distortion, lie, or whatever you want to call it”¦ What they mean by ‘herd immunity strategy’ is survival of the fittest, let the infection spread through the community and develop a population immunity. That’s never been the policy that I have advised”

Problem is that there is an identical twin who looks like Scott Atlas and is called Scott Atlas saying this very thing in this interview done for the Steve Deace show

(https://www.youtube.com/wat

This is what that identical twin had to say: “We can allow a lot of people to get infected, those who are not at risk to die or have a serious hospital-requiring illness, we should be fine with letting them get infected, generating immunity on their own, and the more immunity in the community, the better we can eradicate the threat of the virus.”

That sounds like ‘herd immunity strategy’ to me.

– He’s [Dr Fauci] just one person on the task force ” there are several people on the task force. His background is virology, immunology and infectious disease. It’s a very different background, it’s a more limited approach, and I don’t speak for him”

Well, you could say the same thing about Scott Atlas himself.

“He’s an MRI guy,’ says Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. ‘If I was confused about some brain lesion and what the MRI findings were, I’d be happy to call him up.’ But President Trump has tapped Atlas for a very different role ” as an adviser on the coronavirus pandemic.

As such, he is counseling the president on life-and-death decisions about the virus, which has already killed more than 180,000 Americans so far this year. That has Jha and others worried. He has no expertise in any of this stuff,” Jha says. “He’s been bringing out arguments that have been refuted week after week, month after month, since the beginning of this outbreak”

(https://www.npr.org/section

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
2 years ago

“No. It’s a repeated distortion, lie, or whatever you want to call it”¦ What they mean by ‘herd immunity strategy’ is survival of the fittest, let the infection spread through the community and develop a population immunity. That’s never been the policy that I have advised”

– Problem is that there is an identical twin who looks like Scott Atlas and is called Scott Atlas saying this very thing in this interview done for the Steve Deace show.

(https://www.youtube.com/wat

This is what that identical twin had to say: “We can allow a lot of people to get infected, those who are not at risk to die or have a serious hospital-requiring illness, we should be fine with letting them get infected, generating immunity on their own, and the more immunity in the community, the better we can eradicate the threat of the virus.”

That sounds like ‘herd immunity strategy’ to me.

He’s [Dr Fauci] just one person on the task force ” there are several people on the task force. His background is virology, immunology and infectious disease. It’s a very different background, it’s a more limited approach, and I don’t speak for him”

Well, you could say the same thing about Scott Atlas himself.

“He’s an MRI guy,’ says Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. ‘If I was confused about some brain lesion and what the MRI findings were, I’d be happy to call him up.’ But President Trump has tapped Atlas for a very different role ” as an adviser on the coronavirus pandemic.

As such, he is counseling the president on life-and-death decisions about the virus, which has already killed more than 180,000 Americans so far this year. That has Jha and others worried. He has no expertise in any of this stuff,” Jha says. “He’s been bringing out arguments that have been refuted week after week, month after month, since the beginning of this outbreak”

(https://www.npr.org/section..

Gloria Spark
Gloria Spark
2 years ago

You are missing his point. We need to find the proper balance.

Russell Libby
Russell Libby
2 years ago

https://www.cdc.gov/media/r
If Dr Atlas and the POTUS had just respected the recommendations of the mainstream scientific community and gone along with masks, they would not be in this untenable position. It is the conflict THEY have created and manifested through the distortions of imaginary thinking that have put us in this situation. Lock downs are a result of uncontrolled transmission of the disease and it is clear that the Trump coalition encourage the behavior that can be attributable. It is amazing that the presidential election may come down to an unnecessary appeal to not wear a mask and to demonstrate unwise behaviors that could spread any disease. Comparing death rates to flu is not the point; compounding death rates is.

tracygeorgis
tracygeorgis
2 years ago

Dr.Atlas, thank you for your views. What is your background with regards to public health? Do you have an MPH, MSPH, or DrPH? Have you served for a state or local health department. Thanks.

Trishia A
Trishia A
2 years ago
Reply to  tracygeorgis

You can see his bio here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

Ess Arr
Ess Arr
2 years ago

Hmmm, the guy’s an academic? It’s sloppy thinking to posit an extreme position as though it’s what your opponents said. And anecdotes are not scientific. “Masks don’t work on the moon!” “My 93 year old mother in law wants to die happily attending a Trump rally.” Ole Freddy has gone the way of Alex Berenson, once interesting, now extremely pleased with himself.

joe_falconer
joe_falconer
2 years ago
Reply to  Ess Arr

I think the core of what he is saying is that we are collectively drinking poison as a cure for covid and all this is enabled through fear.

Go ahead and argue that point – I challenge you to imagine if you would be so dismissive if you were sitting there jobless and fearful; so fearful that when you get some chest pains you avoid hospital, so fearful that despite having cancer you avoid your chemo sessions. That is the reality and that is why there are so much excess death data from home settings. And this is just starting to come through in the data. Expect overall excess deaths to start to increase as a long term trend – not due to covid but due to government lockdown policies.

As for older people saying they don’t want to be locked up. Can you imagine what its like when you think your last 6 months might be the next 6 and someone says you need to lockdown? Lunacy.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  joe_falconer

Well said Joe!

Julie S
Julie S
2 years ago
Reply to  Ess Arr

I just can’t understand how there are so many who say this sort of
thing. Dr. Atlas’ position appeals both to scientific facts such as the
indisputable fact that a virus is way too small for masks to be
effective and that is the reason they have not been used previously, and secondly, the people who talk like this also say how much they care about people. Yet when you share data and, yes, personal stories (because that’s what humans do, they share their experience!) of the
pain and suffering due to lockdown policies. Feel free to look up, not
propaganda articles on mask, but facts on the size of the Covid virus
and the size of the holes in surgical masks or cloth masks.

Neither appeal breaks through. No honest, intelligent discussion is ever had, in fact I would say their arguments are tales handed down to them as opposed to an anecdote.

This leaves one perplexed as to what could be the motive to choose to continue such harmful policies except that one chooses to remain
ignorant possibly due to such hatred of our current president if you’re
American citizen or one thinks somehow they will benefit under a
socialist government and thus other’s suffering is actually no problem
for them. Both just disturbing.

Adrian
Adrian
2 years ago
Reply to  Ess Arr

There are a lot of old people who don’t want to die alone, waiting for a vaccine to arrive. No-one is asking them.