Scott Atlas resigns, defends keeping schools open: ‘I was just speaking about the data’
Dr. Scott Atlas, President Trump’s coronavirus adviser, formally resigned from his position on Monday and joined Tucker Carlson Tonight later in the day to give his first interview after his departure from the White House.
Atlas joined the White House Coronavirus Task Force in August and sparked controversy for his opinions on keeping schools open and suggesting that residents of Michigan should “rise up” against COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Atlas was a member of the Coronavirus Task Force for 130 days and will now become a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
“The point isn’t that I was right,” Atlas said while discussing the reopening of New York City schools on Carlson’s show. “The point isn’t that the advice I gave the president was right. The point isn’t that the president was right, although those things are true.”
“The point is that we really need to open up in-person schools ASAP because it’s so destructive, so harmful to children,” Atlas added. “And there’s really nothing more important for a country that I can think of than educating our children, of course.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert, has recently announced the spread of coronavirus among children at schools is very low.
Earlier this month, Fauci said he “totally disagrees” with Atlas regarding the closures of businesses and schools in Michigan in response to COVID-19.
“I don’t want to say anything against Dr. Atlas as a person, but I totally disagree with the stand he takes. I just do, period,” Fauci said on NBC’s “Today.”
Atlas noted that the data regarding school closures and the infection risk in children has not changed.
“I was just speaking about the data as I always did, and its true that the data was correct then. Children have extremely low risk of a serious illness and do not frequently spread this infection,” Atlas said. “That was known then and we also knew the harms, the serious harm, to children from closing in-person schools. Nothing’s really changed. It’s just that some of these things are know being acknowledged.”
Atlas ended the interview by emphasizing the importance of free exchange of ideas.
“I think there’s a serious problem, honestly, in the country because there’s a bigger issue here, and it is that America and its universities really need to allow — without attack, without rebuke, without intimidation — the free exchange of ideas, because it is from the free exchange of ideas that scientific truths follow,” he said.
“And these scientific truths are critical for us to solve this crisis, every other crisis and in fact, the free exchange of ideas is honestly the foundation of every civilized society,” Atlas added. “Science has been politicized and it’s very, very dangerous. I think we should all be concerned about it.”