Dr. Scott Atlas was right about the importance of school reopenings during COVID-19 all along.
Atlas, who first joined the White House coronavirus task force in August, resigned from his position on Monday at the conclusion of his 130-day period as a special advisor to President Donald Trump.
While Atlas began calling for schools to reopen early in the outbreak, citing scientific evidence that children have a low risk of spreading COVID-19 and an extremely low risk of danger if they do get infected, many on the left and in the media criticized him for holding different viewpoints than other health officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, who recently flip-flopped on his position concerning school reopenings, falsely claiming he had always supported keeping schools open.
“Dr. Fauci’s remarks seemed like vindication in the opening of the New York schools, as well of your point that you made many months ago,” Fox News’s Tucker Carlson noted in an interview with Atlas Monday evening.
“I was just speaking about the data, as I always did,” Atlas replied. “And it is true that the data was correct then, that children have extremely low risk of a serious illness and do not frequently spread this infection.”
“That was known then, and we also knew the harm, the serious harms to children from closing in-person schools, and nothing has really changed,” he added. “It’s just that some of these things are now being acknowledged.”
While Atlas was correct in his advice to reopen schools, he said the focus should be on quickly returning most teachers and students to in-person classrooms.
“The point isn’t that I was right. The point isn’t that the advice I gave the president was right. The point isn’t that the president was right. Although those things are true,” Atlas said. “The point is that we really need to open up in-person schools ASAP because it’s so destructive, so harmful to children and there’s really nothing more important for a country that I can think of than educating our children.”
While Atlas was right about following the science related to school reopenings, he said that the bigger issue with the scientific debates about COVID-19 is that there is currently no way to offer dissent from corporate media’s views on issues without facing retribution.
“I think there is a serious problem, honestly, in the country because there is a bigger issue here and that is that America and its universities really need to allow, without attack, without rebuke, without intimidation, the free exchange of ideas,” Atlas said. “It is from the free exchange of ideas because it from the free exchange of ideas that scientific truths follow and these scientific truths are critical for us to solve this crisis. Free exchange of ideas is honestly the foundation of every civilized society.”
This hindrance of freedom and cancel culture peddled by the mainstream media, Atlas said, should concern everyone.
“We see that objective journalism is nearly dead and I think we now saw that science has been politicized and it’s very, very dangerous. I think we should all be concerned about it,” he said.
In his resignation letter posted to Twitter, the former special advisor echoed these same ideas, writing that he could not “think of a time where safeguarding science and the scientific debate is more urgent.”
He also wrote that his “advice was always focused on minimizing all the harms from both the pandemic and the structural policies themselves, especially to the working class and the poor.”
— Scott W. Atlas (@ScottWAtlas) December 1, 2020