Health Care

Fauci and Birx warned Scott Atlas was ‘dangerous’

Newly obtained emails show that top public health officials Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx considered Trump-era White House COVID-19 adviser Scott Atlas and his views on the pandemic to be “dangerous.”

The documents, obtained through public records requests by BuzzFeed News, show the comments were made in August 2020, around the time Atlas was named to his White House role, sparking controversy. 

Atlas joined the administration after Trump noticed him during Fox News appearances, where he often downplayed the pandemic. Atlas, who is not an infectious diseases expert, pushed the concept of herd immunity early on in 2020, among other views that earned him scrutiny from health officials.

Just 11 days after Atlas’s nomination to serve in the White House, Birx wrote an email to top health officials that said Atlas was “providing information not based on data or knowledge of pandemics — nor pandemic responses on the ground but by personal opinion formed by cherry picking data from nonpeer reviewed COVID publications.”

“I am more convinced than ever the dangers of Dr. Atlas’ views on the pandemic,” Birx wrote. “Dr Atlas views appeal to a subsection of American citizens and if allowed to gain traction will reverse months of incredibly hard won gains.”

Fauci responded, “I agree and share your concerns.”

“He is a very clever guy and knows the literature (in his own way),” Fauci wrote. “It is in the interpretation of the literature that we differ.”

Other emails obtained by BuzzFeed show that Fauci, who is the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, and Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, had a hard time accessing then-President Trump at the time. 

“I don’t see the President so I don’t have a counter balance opportunity to this Atlas Dogma,” Birx wrote. “Tony and I did not brief the President nor speak to the President between 22 April and the end of July beyond one vaccine briefing in July.” 

Atlas ultimately resigned in November, shortly before his tenure was slated to expire. 

Birx and Fauci have spoken out publicly about their views on Atlas since they wrote the emails.

Birx confronted former Vice President Mike Pence about Atlas’s increasing influence, and Fauci said in an interview that he “totally” disagreed with Atlas’s views.

Tags Anthony Fauci Coronavirus COVID-19 Deborah Birx Donald Trump Emails Mike Pence Pandemic Scott Atlas Trump administration

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