Dr. Scott Atlas, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, apologized for appearing on the Russian state-controlled news network RT, during which he defended the Trump Administration’s pandemic response and the president’s opposition to ongoing lockdowns.
“I recently did an interview with RT and was unaware they are a registered foreign agent,” Atlas tweeted. “I regret doing the interview and apologize for allowing myself to be taken advantage of. I especially apologize to the national security community who is working hard to defend us.”
Atlas, a radiologist, has been criticized for promoting the ending of lockdowns and building herd immunity among the American populace, a tactic that other epidemiologists warn would lead to the deaths of millions. Dr. Anthony Fauci, also on the Trump task force, has publicly criticized Atlas, as well.
“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci told The Washington Post. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”
During the RT interview, Atlas conceded that the pandemic has been “deadly,” but asserted that the lockdowns would also cost lives and would create “a generation of neurotic children.”
“The lockdowns will go down as an epic failure of public policy,” Atlas added. “The argument is undeniable. The lockdowns are killing people.”
Atlas also defended himself from criticism by Fauci and Bill Gates, who called Atlas a “pseudo-expert.”
“I’m proud to be an outlier, especially when the inliers are completely wrong,” he said regarding Fauci’s comments. “I frankly don’t care what somebody like Bill Gates says. Being rich does not confirm expertise. I feel very good about not only my own expertise, my own CV. I’m a healthcare policy person. I’ve been working in this for 15 years.”
At least 230,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, with 9.1 million confirmed cases reported. Infections are surging in 47 states, with the national daily new infection rate expected to cross 100,000 this coming week.