Story at a glance
- Advisor Scott Atlas resigned from the Trump administration’s COVID-19 task force following controversial comments and public health stances.
- Stanford University faculty, with whom he worked as a fellow, recently condemned his claims.
On Monday, the Trump administration’s White House coronavirus task force endured a high-profile change when Scott Atlas resigned from his post following a tumultuous tenure.
CNN reports that Atlas submitted his resignation to President Trump and tweeted a photo of the letter.
“Throughout my time at the White House, it was an honor to work with several selfless colleagues in designing specific policies to heighten protection of the vulnerable while safely reopening schools and society,” he wrote.
Sources told CNN that the conclusion of Atlas’s time on the federal team was “welcome news.” Atlas had drawn negative attention to the task force for supporting unpopular and discredited measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission, including reopening schools for in-person learning and resuming college sporting events.
Most notably, Atlas drew public ire when he tweeted that Michigan residents “rise up” in defiance of new public health measures implemented by the state government in a bid to reduce virus transmission.
“The only way this stops is if people rise up," Atlas wrote on Twitter. "You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”
His stances and comments eventually pushed the faculty at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where he held a fellowship position, to denounce him.
"We call on university leadership to forcefully disavow Atlas’s actions as objectionable on the basis of the university’s core values and at odds with our own policies and guidelines concerning COVID-19 and campus life," the resolution authored by the school’s Faculty Senate read.
Atlas soon issued a response to the faculty letter, saying he was “disappointed” with the resolution.
“I have always used science and factual evidence to help generate the best possible policies to save lives,” he said. “My views in favor of the careful protection of our nation’s most vulnerable while safely re-opening society are far from contrary to science.”
In concluding his resignation, Atlas wished the new coronavirus task force set to takeover upon President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration “all the best” and said he is “highly optimistic that America will thrive once again and overcome the adversity of the pandemic and all that it has entailed.”
This won’t be an easy feat, as the U.S. continues to see increases in new COVID-19 cases, as well as new hospitalizations and fatalities.
The COVID-19 Tracking Project reported on Monday that hospitalizations have hit the highest peaks throughout the course of the pandemic in the U.S., indicating severe infections.
Our daily update is published. Our testing, case, and death statistics continue to be affected by the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. Hospitalizations are less affected by the data slowdown and are at the record-high level of 96,039. pic.twitter.com/Z849KJR8JJ— The COVID Tracking Project (@COVID19Tracking) December 1, 2020
Currently, the U.S. has recorded about 13,337,969 COVID-19 cases.