Washington: Scott Atlas, US President Donald Trump’s controversial adviser to the coronavirus pandemic, has resigned after serving for four months, media reports said on Tuesday.
In a report, The Hill news quoted a White House official as saying on Monday that Atlas, a radiologist and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, had joined the administration in August as a special government employee, meaning he was eligible to serve a 130-day detail.
His tenure was slated to expire this week, but he filed his resignation, effective Tuesday, the official added
In his resignation letter dated Monday, Atlas said that he had “always relied on the latest science and evidence without any political consideration or influence”.
“I worked hard with a singular focus—to save lives and help Americans through this pandemic.
“As time went on, like all scientists and health policy scholars, I learned new information and synthesized the latest data from around the world, all in an effort to provide you with the best information to serve the greater public good.
“But, perhaps more than anything, my 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,” he added in the letter.
According to The Hill news report, Atlas attacted controversy “for his influence over the President’s thinking on the pandemic”, while many members of the White House coronavirus task force raised concerns about the adviser or openly disputed his views.
While Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert, said earlier this month that he “totally” disagreed with Atlas’s views, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Deborah Birx confronted Vice President Pence about Atlas’s increasing influence, the report added.
Besides repeatedly clashing with other members of the coronavirus task force during his four-month Tenure, Atlas also questioned the need for masks and other measures to control the pandemic, the BBC reported.
He sparked further controversy last month when he tweeted “people rise up” in response to new restrictions imposed in Michigan.
After Atlas’ resignation, Fauci told the BBC that the current situation in the US was worse than at any time since the start of the outbreak.
“The slope of our curve is very steep so that every day it seems we almost break a new record,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering revealed that the country’s overall caseload and death toll stood at 13,536,216 and 267,987, respectively.
The two tallies are the highest in the world.