President Donald Trump held a rally at the White House for his supporters on Saturday, where social distancing measures were largely ignored and masks were worn by a minority of those in attendance.
Two-thousand-plus Trump fans showed up to the event which has been given the nickname, “Covchella.”
One of the people who chose to not cover his face was Doctor Scott Altas, a former neuroradiologist, whom Trump chose as his go-to guy on all things COVID-19-related in August.
The very on-brand moment was captured and posted to Twitter by Jonathan Lemire of the Associated Press.
Off to the side of the White House event, not wearing a mask: Dr. Scott Atlas pic.twitter.com/yECbfzyU6t
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) October 10, 2020
Since his ascension into the president’s circle of trust, Atlas has denied the efficacy of masks and has been repeatedly condemned by scientists and Doctor Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Everything he says is false,” Redfield said of Atlas last month in a conversation overheard by NBC.
“NBC News is reporting one side of a private phone conversation by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield that was overheard on a plane from Atlanta Hartsfield airport. Dr. Redfield was having a private discussion regarding a number of points he has made publicly about Covid-19,” a CDC spokesperson later told CNN.
The CDC eventually admitted that Redfield and Atlas have “different positions” on some issues.
“The article quotes Dr. Redfield as saying, ‘Everything he says is false’ but it cannot supply the context for that statement since only one side of the private conversation being eavesdropped on was heard. Positions on three issues, the value of wearing a mask, youth COVID-19 infections, and where we are currently with herd immunity, are the positions that Dr. Redfield has different positions on than Dr. Atlas. The doctors agree on many other issues,” the agency said in a statement.
Atlas has also been a proponent of so-called “herd immunity” to the coronavirus, wherein the pathogen would be allowed to spread freely throughout the population, exposing and/or infecting as many people as possible, in order to achieve large-scale immunity.
“We can allow a lot of people to get infected,” Atlast said in April on the right-wing Steve Deace Show. “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.”
Normally, herd immunity is attained through vaccinations. But with no COVID-19 vaccine yet available, Atlas’s approach would result in a devastating loss of life – likely in the millions – because of the virus’s high mortality rate.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.