Controversial neuroradiologist and White House COVID-19 advisor Scott Atlas, MD, resigned from his post on Monday evening.
In a letter to President Donald Trump shared on Twitter, the Stanford University senior fellow called it an “honor and a privilege” to serve America since August. He maintained that during his tenure, he always “relied on the latest science and evidence,” and kept focused on “minimizing all the harms from the pandemic.”
Both neuroradiologist peers and Stanford faculty members have criticized Atlas in recent months for his approach to the pandemic. Since the summer, the physician and Fox News contributor has spoken out against masks, championed a “herd immunity” approach to the crisis, and railed against stay-at-home measures.
“We … identified and illuminated early on the harms of prolonged lockdowns, including that they create massive physical health losses and psychological distress, destroy families, and damage our children,” he wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 1.
Atlas closed by congratulating the president on Operation Warp Speed, while also welcoming those who will take his place.
“I sincerely wish the new team all the best as they guide the nation through these trying, polarized times,” he concluded. “With the emerging treatments and vaccines, I remain highly optimistic that America will thrive once again and overcome the adversity of the pandemic and all that it has entailed.”
Prior to his resignation, the Stanford Faculty Senate had issued a resolution, “strongly condemning” his recent actions, including a tweet urging Michigan residents to “rise up” against lockdowns. Atlas responded Nov. 23 in the Stanford Review, saying he was “disappointed” by his colleagues’ actions, while emphasizing that he did not intend to incite violence with his social media posts. He also maintained that he has recommended mitigation measures, including social distancing and wearing masks, calling media reports to the contrary “simply false.”
Fox News first reported the news Monday, noting that Atlas was considered a special government employee, whose 130-day detail was set to expire this week.