Dr. Scott Atlas on America’s Ongoing Covid Insanity
22 Nov 2021
CLAY: We are joined now by Dr. Scott Atlas. He is a senior fellow in health policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, former adviser on covid to the president and author of the new book: A Plague Upon Our House: My Fight at the Trump White House to Stop Covid from Destroying America.
Dr. Atlas, appreciate the time that you are spending with us. Let’s dive right into it. How much of a disaster has Dr. Fauci been for America in terms of the advice that he has given over the last 18 months based on your experience?
DR. ATLAS: Well, thanks for having me. You know, I think this is something people have to understand. They have to be critical thinkers about what is said because the advice from the doctors on the task force six months before I got there, the three and a half months I was there, and following that has been inconsistent, erratic, anti-science, the contrary to the science, and they simply lack critical thinking.
Now, the head of the task force actually was Dr. Birx, who was the medical task force coordinator who wrote all the policy advice to the states. She visited dozens of states. She came out all the local health officials. Dr. Fauci was not in charge but he was the most influential figure on the media to the American public. And what I saw on the task force was shocking.
That’s one of the reasons I wrote the book because we have to be aware that we can never let these kinds of people be in charge again. They were not critical thinkers. They’ve both been in government bureaucrat positions for 40 years.
I came in as a health policy scholar, 15 years of health policy work and 25 years of medical science research clinical work in some of the best medical centers. And so what I would do to the meetings, I would bring in a dozen, 20 different scientific publications, data from all over the world, and I would go through the data when I was asked my opinion. Their approach was something very different. Their approach was simply saying I’m an outlier or saying that, you know, most people agree that we should be doing lockdowns.
So, of course their position, their policy was lockdowns, restrictions, close schools, close businesses, curfews, quarantines. And this the policy during the entire year that was implemented by almost every governor. I visited only one state during my three and a half times there, and that was Florida, who did something very differently. And so, you know, we have a problem here because we have bureaucrats who were not critical thinkers.
They never cited the data. They never refuted anything I said with the data. And what’s more they never disagreed with each other. They had a pact that Birx revealed later, which was if one of them was fired they would all just quit, which is not exactly the attitude of people trying to help the country, in my opinion.
And secondly, I’ll give you another anecdote here. You know, I arranged — I wanted to make sure that the president had the most information possible from the experts of the world, of the country. So, I arranged a meeting. I brought in people from Harvard, Stanford, Tufts University, UCLA. These were the medical scientists who were doing the research on the pandemic, and they were there to answer the president’s questions. Dr. Birx was asked to come to the meeting. She refused. And, in fact, that almost scuttled the entire meeting, and then she explained to the meeting that there were, quote, parallel streams of data, unquote, being given to the president that she didn’t know about, as if she’s supposed to be the funnel.
So, this is the attitude of a bureaucrat, in my opinion. And my role had nothing to do with, you know, politics or anything else. I was there for one reason — because the country was off the rails, people were dying, the lockdowns were implemented, they failed to stop the spread of the infection, they failed to stop the dying, and they destroyed and inflicted a tremendous amount of harm on families and children, particularly at the lower income. The lockdowns were a luxury of the rich. And it was being instilled and implemented without knowing the data and without thinking through what was important.
BUCK: Dr. Atlas, it’s Buck. You know, we just got more information the last few days — I should say more pronouncements in from Fauci and the rest about boosters. We now are being told boosters are open to all adults. They’re gonna want to get boosters, I’m sure, soon for kids approved. And it seems like only a matter of time before they try to make the boosters mandatory. Fauci said we’re hoping that this booster will last longer than the vaccine and give better protection. Do they have any actual data or proof that that is something that is likely to happen? Because it seems to some of us like they just don’t want to tell us yet you’re gonna have to get the shot every six months, every whatever it is they come up with on the schedule.
DR. ATLAS: Yeah. I mean, here’s the problem is that their actions have — and their lack of transparency, frankly, have been harmful to the acceptance of the vaccine by people who actually would benefit from the vaccine. I mean, here — the data is the vaccines are protective against death, and that — that protection seems to last at least so far, except there is some data from Sweden that says it wanes, the protection against death wanes from people who are over 80. Okay. If you’re high risk it makes sense you should be taking the vaccine, high risk from covid. That means elderly with multiple comorbidities or young people who have these same comorbidities, that makes sense.
But to say that, you know, you need a booster. I mean, there are people who should think about getting the booster, the high risk people because the protection against infection after vaccinated sort of goes down tremendously really after three to six months. So, if you’re high risk, you know, you really should think about getting the booster.
But to say that children who have a very — healthy children have an extremely low risk from this disease. I mean, this is proven — this was known a year and a half ago when I said it. It’s been proven. It’s consistent. And so to say that a child must get a vaccine for a disease they have extremely low risk for, healthy children, and then in the vaccine where the technology is new — okay. This technology’s never been used for, an mRNA vaccine. We’ve only had it for not even a year. Most vaccines take five to 10 years to make sure we have safety and efficacy data.
Okay, so then to say, “Oh, we should start getting boosters,” okay, it’s fine that they’re available, but you have to realize, everyone should realize that the vaccine booster data, the safety has only been evaluated for like 30-day periods in Israel. Thirty days is not a safety evaluation. And to say you need a booster — if you’re protected against dying, that’s what’s important here.
Now, high risk people, okay. But, you know, people have to start thinking — here’s what’s happened, if I may. The trust in experts has gone, okay, it’s diminished, and that’s appropriate that it’s gone because they’ve destroyed it. They’ve issued — they’ve not looked at the data, these so-called experts. They’ve issued edicts and mandates on things that were anti-science. They denied the impact of natural immunity after recovery. We’re the only country in the world that does not allow for that.
We make believe somehow the experts here that protection does not come after being infected. that’s just anti-science. That’s denying basic immunology and the data on this virus. So, when they start doing these sorts of things, people have to realize, okay, we need to be critical thinkers ourselves for ourselves and our families. We need to find a doctor that’s rational. If we don’t have a doctor who’s a critical thinker, we need a new doctor, and we need to start analyzing and trusting people who are being consistent, who speak from the data, and who do not have an ulterior motive.
When you look at people — and I’m gonna put it this way — who have been in government bureaucrat jobs for 40 years, that’s not because they’re politically neutral. It’s because they are political themselves. It’s because they know how to navigate the system to make friends in the media, to make friends in the agencies.
When somebody like me came in, I had no interest — frankly, I wasn’t there to make friends. I had no secondary gain. I wasn’t getting a second position later on. I was there to stop people from dying and to add critical thinking.
So, I think at this point we, American people, have to have the sense to look through the stuff ourselves, to find people who we trust because we cannot just assume that the people in the CDC or in leadership positions in our country are really going by the data. I mean, we know this, not just in the vaccines. We look at the masks, we look at the studies that they ignore and just — you know, the whole thing is still off the rails, unfortunately.
CLAY: Talking to Dr. Scott Atlas. He’s the senior fellow for health policy at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, also has a new book out for you to check out: A Plague Upon Our House: My Fight at the Trump White House to Stop Covid from Destroying America.
Dr. Atlas, much of the red states, it appears, have basically gotten back to normalcy. I live in Tennessee. I’m down in Florida right now. I’ve been all over the South during football season. People are basically back to normal. You wouldn’t really know that covid existed but for airplane travel. When are the rest of the states in this country — you’re out in California. It’s madness still there. Buck is in New York City. How do we land the proverbial plane and get back to normalcy, in your mind? What’s that time frame?
DR. ATLAS: Yeah. I mean, that’s a good question, because what I say when I’m asked when will the CDC say this, when will Dr. Fauci say this, the answer is never. You must assume it’s never. There is no indication that the people in power in these states or at the national level are going to be start suddenly obeying the data or looking at the data. So this is an individual thing, in my view.
I’ve been shocked by two things. The number-one shock, the first shock was how the power of the government could be imposed upon Americans to restrict businesses, restrict personal movement, to do all these things, to require all of these things, but the biggest surprise was the acquiescence of the American people.
I think all of us are stunned; where are the independent thinkers in the country, the independent New Yorkers? Where are the Western people, who are just always valuing independent thought? We see protests going on in Europe by the thousands about these mandates, about these requirements, about these lockdowns. That’s not been a feature in the United States. This is surprising to me.
Now, you’re right. The states in Florida — I mean, again, like, I was adviser — one of the advisers to Governor DeSantis since last spring. You know, he looked at the data and people moved to Florida. The response was overwhelmingly positive because people want to live normal lives. So, 100 percent of people over 65 are vaccinated in Florida, as they are in 20 states now at this point. They’ve had at least one dose, which means they’ll get the second dose. That’s 100 percent in 20 states.
Once you’ve protected the high-risk people from dying, people should start thinking — the point is to live your life. The point is not to be in fear of a single virus and shut down society on the basis of that bizarre focus. The public health leadership in this country has been immoral. And they’ve abandoned what their basic responsibility was, which was to consider all health. They’ve never talked about the damage from the lockdowns and those damages were tremendous, particularly on our children. But the answer to the question is the end is when people decide that’s the end. That’s the only way this will end, in my opinion.
CLAY: Dr. Atlas, fantastic. We appreciate you. Encourage you to check out the book. And we look forward to talking to you again down the line somewhere in the future.
DR. ATLAS: Thanks for having me.
BERENSON: What was behind this sudden coordinated global panic? Certainly, it looks to me like it was the boosters.
BUCK: In no way, shape, or form was this accidental, something that just happens, spur of the moment.
CLAY: I'm curious whether Arizona State is going to be willing to stand up to students that are demanding that Kyle Rittenhouse be kicked out of school.
BUCK: The Messiah of science is that evil little Smurf walking around in his lab coat.
CLAY: We have got bans on African travel, which we were all told was wildly racist when Donald Trump did them.