Scott Atlas listens to US President Donald Trump during a briefing at the White House August 10, 2020, in Washington, DC. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty
Scott Atlas, the controversial coronavirus advisor to President Donald Trump, blasted lockdowns in an interview with Russian propaganda platform RT.
“The lockdowns will go down as an epic failure of public policy,” Atlas said during his appearance. “The argument is undeniable. The lockdowns are killing people.”
Public health experts have been urging local officials to enact lockdowns and business closures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
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A top White House coronavirus advisor criticized lockdowns in an interview appearance on Russian propaganda outlet RT, saying shutdown policies are “killing people.”
“It’s a deadly pandemic, there’s no understating that,” Scott Atlas, a closer advisor to President Donald Trump, said. “We’ve had 230,000 lives roughly lost from the virus and certainly many lost from the policy of shutdowns.”
“The lockdowns will go down as an epic failure of public policy,” Atlas added. “The argument is undeniable. The lockdowns are killing people.”
Public health officials have been recommending lockdowns and business closures for months to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, along with other measures like wearing a mask and maintaining a social distance of six feet.
Atlas said lockdowns and other measures taken to slow the spread of coronavirus are “creating a generation of neurotic children” and said data shows college students are killing themselves “due to the lockdown.”
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of students between the ages of 18 to 24 considering suicide increased in the month of June, but not because of lockdown policies as Atlas said in the interview. The spike is due to increasing mental health problems and anxiety, according to CDC data. Students reported feeling more anxious and depressed because of the coronavirus in part, but the feelings are not specific to lockdowns.
In a tweet Sunday morning, Trump promised there would be no lockdowns despite the number of positive coronavirus cases increasing in the country.
Atlas made the remarks on RT, a Kremlin-backed platform that uses YouTube as its “propaganda vehicle of choice,” a team of US lawmakers said last year.
On Sunday afternoon, Atlas walked back his interview with RT, apologizing for appearing on the platform.
“I recently did an interview with RT and was unaware they are a registered foreign agent,” he tweeted. “I regret doing the interview and apologize for allowing myself to be taken advantage of. I especially apologize to the national security community who is working hard to defend us.” Atlas also took down the link to the interview he had tweeted upon airing.
Atlas has in the past been accused of spreading disinformation and false information surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Twitter earlier this month dinged and removed one of his tweets saying masks don’t work, a decision that Atlas railed against. Prominent coronavirus experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have publicly expressed concern over some of Atlas’ remarks and beliefs, including his criticism of lockdowns. Fauci in September called Atlas an “outlier.”
Billionaire Bill Gates referred to Atlas as a “pseudo-expert,” expressing frustration at Trump’s willingness to listen to him.
Atlas fired back at both Fauci and Gates in the interview.
“I’m proud to be an outlier, especially when the inliers are completely wrong,” he said regarding Fauci’s comments.
“I frankly don’t care what somebody like Bill Gates says. Being rich does not confirm expertise,” Atlas said. “I feel very good about not only my own expertise, my own CV. I’m a healthcare policy person. I’ve been working in this for 15 years.”
The coronavirus has infected more than 9.1 million people in the United States, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that, more than 230,000 people have died from the disease.
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