Dr. Deborah Birx has reportedly been trying to get controversial adviser Dr. Scott Atlas removed from the White House coronavirus task force.
A new report in The Washington Post describes the "discord on the coronavirus task force" that has reportedly "worsened" ever since the arrival of Atlas, a neuroradiologist who has no background in epidemiology. Atlas has reportedly "succeeded in largely sidelining" other doctors on the White House coronavirus task force, has challenged analysis from Birx and others with what experts have dismissed as "junk science," and is seen by colleagues as "ill-informed, manipulative and at times dishonest."
Birx, who serves as the task force's response coordinator, recently confronted Vice President Mike Pence about Atlas, telling his office he should be removed from the task force and that she "does not trust" him nor does she believe "he is giving Trump sound advice," the Post also reports. Her effort was evidently unsuccessful, and Pence reportedly "did not take sides" in the conflict.
The report also describes how Atlas has baselessly claimed to the task force that the United States is close to achieving herd immunity, an idea scientists have rejected, and that all coronavirus restrictions should be lifted. This, the Post says, led Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to demand he produce data to support his claims during a "fierce debate." Atlas over the weekend also falsely claimed that masks don't work in fighting COVID-19, leading Twitter to remove the post.
"These days, the task force is dormant relative to its robust activity earlier in the pandemic," the Post writes. "Fauci, Birx, Surgeon General Jerome Adams and other members have confided in others that they are dispirited." Read more at The Washington Post.