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Stanford seeks distance from Trump adviser over coronavirus comments

Stanford seeks distance from Trump adviser over coronavirus comments
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Officials at Stanford University are attempting to distance the school from comments made by Scott Atlas, a research fellow there serving on President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE's coronavirus task force who has peddled controversial theories about the pandemic and the politics behind it. 

"The university has been asked to comment on recent statements made by Dr. Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who is on leave of absence from that position," the school said late Monday evening in a statement. "Stanford’s position on managing the pandemic in our community is clear. We support using masks, social distancing, and conducting surveillance and diagnostic testing. We also believe in the importance of strictly following the guidance of local and state health authorities." 

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Atlas over the weekend clashed with Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerMichigan county board approves resolution in support of impeaching Whitmer Say 'no thanks' to Thanksgiving mandates Overnight Health Care: Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices | Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota | Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas MORE (D), who announced new restrictions on public gatherings, restaurants and other aspects of life in an effort to stymie ballooning cases of COVID-19.

Several other governors have announced similar stay-at-home measures or guidance in recent days. 

"The only way this stops is if people rise up," Atlas said in a tweet. "You get what you accept." 

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Earlier this year, federal authorities intercepted a plot by domestic terrorists in Michigan to kidnap Whitmer and bring her to a remote location outside the state to have her "stand trial" for the "crimes" they believed she had committed against citizens of the state and their freedoms.  

Atlas has also promoted so-called herd immunity as a means of getting the pandemic under control, a strategy that would limit lockdown measures to only segments of the community deemed "at risk" while allowing all other members of society to go about their daily lives normally, allowing the virus to run its course. 

Atlas has broken publicly with the nation's leading health experts and questioned the efficacy of mask usage and social distancing. 

In September, Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was overheard on a private telephone call complaining about Atlas's posturing on the pandemic. 

"Everything he says is false," Redfield.  

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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight health care: AstraZeneca says its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is up to 90 percent effective It's time for COVID-19 disaster relief ... for mothers Fauci: US could see 'well over 300,000' COVID-19 deaths MORE, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, has also distanced himself from the rhetoric Atlas has espoused.  

“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 Monday. 

Stanford echoed Fauci's sentiment. 

"Dr. Atlas has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university’s approach in response to the pandemic," the school said. "Dr. Atlas’s statements reflect his personal views, not those of the Hoover Institution or the university."

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit Protect our world: How the Biden administration can save lives and economies worldwide MORE slammed the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus again on Monday, suggesting more people will die if the president does not soon concede that he lost the election and allow Biden campaign officials to coordinate a transition of power.