Coronavirus

Report: Trump’s New Quack Adviser Pushes Herd Immunity

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

If it seems like the White House has lost interest in the coronavirus pandemic or arbitrarily decided it's "over" -- again -- it may not be a coincidence.

Even though more than 1,000 Americans are still dying every day, and even though we've crossed 6 million infections, testing is down across the board, not up. We're increasingly ignoring the presence of the virus and it may be because Trump has a new quack adviser.

The Washington Post reports that Trump has been relying on the advice of Scott Atlas, a conservative neuroradiologist who says we should be more like Sweden and adopt a herd immunity strategy.

The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist from Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House earlier this month as a pandemic adviser. He has advocated that the United States adopt the model Sweden has used to respond to the virus outbreak, according to these officials, which relies on lifting restrictions so the healthy can build up immunity to the disease rather than limiting social and business interactions to prevent the virus from spreading. [...]

Atlas, who does not have a background in infectious diseases or epidemiology, has expanded his influence inside the White House by advocating policies that appeal to Trump’s desire to move past the pandemic and get the economy going, distressing health officials on the White House coronavirus task force and throughout the administration who worry that their advice is being followed less and less.

It occurs to me that through a combination of letting our foot off the testing gas pedal and reopening schools, Trump could be setting up a coronavirus bomb that will detonate around the time he's on his way out the door anyway. What better way for Trump to leave the White House than to leave behind a raging pandemic that will kill more Americans for him?

In any event, the fact that Atlas joined the White House earlier this month lines up with the increasingly lax approach we've seen from Trump and everyone close to him. No one wore masks to Trump's acceptance speech at the Republican convention and White House officials aren't wearing them either.

They've decided it's over, again, and we've seen this before. And if this time is anything like the last time, we'll see another (third?) surge in October or November.

Sweden's economy did not benefit from their approach. Sweden saw more deaths for the same economic outcome of other countries with fewer deaths.