Seven months into the pandemic, the White Home continues to be hampering efforts to get the unfold of the virus beneath management and supply support to the individuals dealing with financial catastrophe attributable to the required public well being restrictions. On Friday, the New York Times reported one more complication within the ongoing stimulus talks between Congress and the Trump administration: White Home officers don’t need to increase coronavirus testing.
Negotiations over one other support bundle have stalled for months, with Donald Trump calling for an finish till after the election after which rapidly reversing course and calling on Congress to signal a invoice instantly. However Speaker Nancy Pelosi and different Democrats have been making an attempt to include a nationwide testing strategy within the bundle. For months, public well being consultants have been saying that one of the best ways to manage the unfold of COVID-19 is by implementing social distancing measures, sporting masks, and huge scale testing and isolating of the sick. However the Republicans suppose testing must be left as much as the states. And Dr. Scott Atlas, who’s not an infectious disease expert however was picked to advise the president on the coronavirus after appearing on Fox News, insists on ignoring science.
“The overwhelming majority of people that get this an infection should not at excessive threat,” Dr. Atlas told the New York Times. “And while you begin looking for out and testing asymptomatic individuals, you might be destroying the workforce.” He additionally stated a federal test-and-isolate program would infringe on civil liberties, and he falsely claimed that “herd immunity” will be achieved as soon as 20 to 40 p.c of People are contaminated. On Saturday morning, he continued to spew debunked science, claiming that masks aren’t efficient.
Masks work? NO: LA, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Phlippnes, UK, Spain, Israel. WHO:”widesprd use not supported” + many harms; Heneghan/Oxf CEBM:”regardless of a long time, considerble uncertainty re worth”; CDC rvw Could:”no sig purple’n in inflnz transm’n”; be taught why https://t.co/1hRFHsxe59
— Scott W. Atlas (@SWAtlasHoover) October 17, 2020
On the finish of the tweet, Atlas hyperlinks to a bit by the libertarian suppose tank American Institution for Economic Research, which earlier this month drew the eye of the White Home when it launched a roadmap for ending the pandemic. Referred to as the Nice Barrington Plan, the doc purports to put out a plan for a return to regular life however was broadly criticized as bogus, as my colleague Kiera Butler reported earlier this month:
The overwhelming majority of infectious illness physicians, virologists, and epidemiologists don’t help it—and in reality, many of the scientific group believes that this strategy will actively damage weak individuals quite than defending them. “The authors are well-known individuals in public well being, however they don’t symbolize something like a consensus view about how you can strategy COVID,” Yale College epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves informed me. “The remainder of the individuals of their subject are them aghast.” Certainly, the general public well being group has swarmed to point out the many problems with the Nice Barrington plan, and plenty of have additionally called out Jacobin for selling it.
Gonsalves, who wrote a critique of the doc in The Nation, famous that the doc begins with a flawed premise—that we’d solely must isolate a choose few aged and at-risk members of society. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention estimate that 40 p.c of People have a situation that places them in danger for extreme COVID-19.
Regardless of the roughly 219,000 deaths and the 8 million people plunged into poverty since July, when the final reduction invoice expired, the White Home and different Republicans appear hellbent on ignoring the science and denying the assistance that People desperately want—all however guaranteeing that the disaster will proceed unabated.