A positive outlook and no expertise – perfect!

Trump is loving his new Covid advisor.

Dr. Scott Atlas warns against coronavirus overreaction and hysteria, pushes for the reopening of schools and sports leagues, and downplays the need for broader testing to root out the virus.

Don’t be hysterical, it will be fabulous to reopen everything, shut up about testing. What could go wrong?

With the virus showing no sign of letting up — the U.S. has recorded roughly 5.4 million Covid-19 cases and 170,000 deaths — and with less than three months to go in an uphill reelection battle, the president is betting that a telegenic physician with a positive outlook, but no expertise in infectious diseases or epidemiology, can change his fortunes.

And his fortunes are the important thing. Not ours – not anyone else’s at all – just his.

Where school superintendents and football conference officials see a risk of the virus’ spread this fall, Atlas cautions against too-strict measures. During Fox News appearances, he has downplayed the need for students to wear face coverings or practice social distancing if schools do reopen.

“It is proven children have no significant risk,” he said during a July 15 TV appearance. It’s a line that Trump has parroted but that hasn’t been borne out in districts where in-person learning has resumed: Schools in Georgia, North Carolina and Indiana have had to shut down shortly after starting the year because of positive cases.

Also remember the “no expertise in infectious diseases or epidemiology” part – that’s important.

In private meetings at the White House, Atlas has irritated other aides by arguing against expanded Covid-19 testing. He opposed a proposal championed by Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, to scale up home testing through methods such as saliva tests. And recently, in a task force meeting, he told Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, that science does not definitively support government mandates on wearing masks.

Critics, including other conservatives and health officials, say he is shading science and facts with a partisan lens to elevate himself and gain power in Republican circles.

Atlas first came to the attention of the Trump administration the way it finds so many top officials: through his appearances on Fox News. His comments on the coronavirus lockdown and the need to reopen the economy and schools caught the attention of the president and several top aides, including Jared Kushner, according to a second senior administration official.

Excellent system for finding the best people.

Atlas frequently questions or spars with other administration officials about data on the spread of the virus, or the efficacy of the government’s requiring people to wear masks, or the merits of broadening testing among the wider population — all of which other health professionals consider key planks in combating the virus, a sort of Pandemic 101.

Meanwhile

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its COVID-19 testing guidelines this week to exclude people without symptoms of coronavirus, even if they’ve recently been in contact with infected individuals. Studies, meanwhile, find nearly half of infections are from asymptomatic transmissions.

That’s insane. It reads like a response to Trump’s idiotic yelps that if we tested less we wouldn’t have so many cases. And guess who wasn’t there at the time.

Amid reports that the sudden change in guidelines came from the “top” of the Trump administration, CNN reported on Wednesday that top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci was incapacitated when the decision was made.

“He said, ‘I was under general anesthesia in the operating room,’” CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, reading comments from Fauci, who had surgery last week to remove a polyp on his vocal cord. “‘Last Thursday was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding these new testing recommendations… I’m concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations. I’m worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact, it is.’”

He also said he didn’t think it was a sneaky trick, but I’m gonna disagree with him on that one.

On Wednesday, The New York Times and CNN reported that “pressure” for the change to the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines came from top officials of the Trump administration.

No shit – Trump’s only been screaming about it for months.

In a statement issued Wednesday evening, HHS said the guidelines had been updated “to reflect current evidence and best public health practices, and to further emphasize using CDC-approved prevention strategies to protect yourself, your family, and the most vulnerable of all ages.”

Blah blah blah but we don’t belieeeeeeeeeeeve you.

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