The White House is sitting on billions of dollars intended to expand coronavirus testing.
Dr. Scott Atlas has consolidated his control over the White House coronavirus task force to the frustration of public health experts and Senate Republicans, and has pushed to allow the potentially deadly virus to spread until the U.S. reaches herd immunity, reported the Washington Post.
“Atlas shot down attempts to expand testing,” the Post reported. “He openly feuded with other doctors on the coronavirus task force and succeeded in largely sidelining them. He advanced fringe theories, such as that social distancing and mask-wearing were meaningless and would not have changed the course of the virus in several hard-hit areas. And he advocated allowing infections to spread naturally among most of the population while protecting the most vulnerable and those in nursing homes until the United States reaches herd immunity, which experts say would cause excess deaths, according to three current and former senior administration officials.”
Infectious disease experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx have urged the White House to expand testing capacity as winter approaches, but Atlas — a neuroradiologist and Fox News regular — won’t allow it.
“They have urged the government to use unspent money Congress allocated for testing — which amounts to $9 billion, according to a Democratic Senate appropriations aide — so that anyone who needs to can get a test with results returned quickly,” the Post reported.
“But Atlas, who is opposed to surveillance testing, has repeatedly quashed these proposals,” according to the newspaper. “He has argued that young and healthy people do not need to get tested and that testing resources should be allocated to nursing homes and other vulnerable places, such as prisons and meatpacking plants.”