by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield told a colleague Friday “Dr. Scott Atlas is arming Trump with misleading data” about COVID-19, claimed NBC News political reporter Monica Alba in a Monday article.
Within hours of NBC posting its story, numerous ideologically allied outlets had amplified it. …
… “Everything he says is false,” NBC News quoted Redfield as saying of Atlas’s coronavirus recommendations. That’s just not true, top epidemiologists told The Federalist.
“Dr. Redfield is a prominent and respected scientist, so I respect his opinion, but I don’t know what he’s thinking,” said Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, an epidemiologist and medical professor at Stanford University, in response to the NBC story. Bhattacharya has advised public officials including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on COVID-19 response. “I think the evidence is more strongly with Dr. Atlas,” he continued.
In an interview, Atlas said the constant media characterization of President Trump’s coronavirus response as detached from scientific expertise is “completely false.” He said the president’s policies are informed by infectious disease experts from the world’s top medical and research institutions, including Bhattacharya and John Ioannidis of Stanford University Medical Center, Martin Kulldorff and Katherine Yih of Harvard Medical School, and Sunetra Gupta and Carl Heneghan of Oxford University.
“The extreme comments that have been reported are an attempt to delegitimize me and undermine the president of the United States,” Atlas said, not a dispassionate, science-based position. “There can be different opinions about scientific evidence, but to say I’m citing false information is a lie,” he said later.
Scientific and public understanding of the disease has “changed dramatically” in the past nine months, Bhattacharya noted in an interview. Now we know COVID-19’s dangers are far lower than previously believed, such that if 1,000 people are infected with the virus, between 997 and 998 will survive, he said.