The Washington Post reports:
One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions.
The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing. The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist from Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House earlier this month as a pandemic adviser.
That this approach is even being discussed inside the White House is drawing concern from experts inside and outside the government who note that a herd immunity strategy could lead to the country suffering hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lost lives.
Media Matters reports:
Why is Atlas, a radiologist who worked for a right-wing think tank before joining the administration earlier this month, in a position to give the president recommendations that could result in the deaths of millions of Americans? Trump had been seeking a doctor who opposed the cautious views of top health advisers Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, and Atlas caught Trump’s attention with a spate of Fox News appearances in recent months.
Atlas’ hiring was another case of the Trump-Fox feedback loop shaping crucial administration decisions — and in this case, the results could prove catastrophic. Atlas used Fox’s airwaves to tell the president exactly what he wanted to hear. He regularly downplayed the threat posed by the virus over 20 Fox appearances between the end of April and his August hiring, as Media Matters documented.