Some of Dr. Atlas’ Trump administration colleagues would likely contradict this assessment, citing views very different from those advanced by officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government scientists. Dr Atlas argued, for example, that the science of wearing a mask is uncertain and that children cannot spread the coronavirus.
Even more controversial was his libertarian view of the role of government in the pandemic. In Dr Atlas’ opinion, the government’s job was not to eradicate the virus but simply to protect its most vulnerable citizens as Covid-19 took its course.
Dr Atlas also spoke out against anything that looked like a foreclosure or business closure. “Protect those at high risk; open schools, society, ” he tweeted in October. “Alternative? Locking up healthy people, restricting business, closing schools… kills people, destroys families, sacrifices children. #RationalThinking. ”
Public health experts were dismayed and warned his ideas were dangerous and would have disastrous results.
But that didn’t stop Dr Atlas. In mid-November, he called on Michigan residents to “stand up” against the coronavirus restrictions. State Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who had faced death threats and a foiled kidnapping attempt due to the restrictions, denounced him as “incredibly reckless.”