“Many of his views and statements are contrary to established science and, in so doing, undermine public health authorities and the credible science that drives effective public health policy,” they wrote.
Dr. Atlas, a radiologist and senior fellow at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution, has become a proponent of controversial ideas on how to fight the coronavirus. It went against recommendations made by top government doctors and scientists such as Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert, Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, and Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, instead promoting ideas embraced by Mr. Trump that have not been scientifically proven.
Dr. Atlas said the science behind wearing a mask is uncertain and that children cannot transmit the virus. In early September he took part in the decision to change the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s testing guidelines to exclude asymptomatic people, despite research showing that people without symptoms can still carry a high virus load.
He also advocated the intentional creation of “herd immunity,” a questionable strategy that would require mass exposure to Covid-19 to create total immunity.
The letter refutes his statements point by point.
Encouraging uncontrolled transmission of the virus to achieve herd immunity would create “a significant increase in preventable cases, suffering and deaths, especially among vulnerable populations, such as older individuals and essential workers,” faculty members wrote. The safest path to herd immunity “is through the distribution of rigorously evaluated and effective vaccines that have been approved by regulatory agencies,” they added.
“Failure to comply with science – or deliberate misrepresentation of science – will lead to immense avoidable harm,” the authors wrote.