Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and Hoover Institution fellow who recently joined the White House last month as a pandemic adviser, called for the United States to adopt the “herd immunity” strategy regarding the COVID-19 crisis, according to The Washington Post.

Herd immunity, also called community immunity, is when a large part of a population gains immunity to a virus or bacteria, thus lowering the infection rate. Herd immunity protects at-risk populations, but at the same time, the process of obtaining herd immunity can be dangerous. Sweden used this response for its own coronavirus strategy, and its infection rates and death rates are among the highest in the world.

The Post cited five unnamed sources who are “familiar with the discussions” as its source, but Atlas and the White House both deny that they have been considering using the herd immunity approach.

“There’s news, there’s opinion and then there’s overt lie. And that was never a strategy advocated by me in the administration,” said Atlas at a press conference in Florida. He also stated that The Washington Post never reached out to him, though the newspaper revealed that it contacted the White House press office on three separate days.


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The White House also stated that it is not considering a herd immunity strategy.

Atlas’ words also seem to contradict his previous actions, as his comments in July about getting children to return to school do corroborate with the mentality behind herd immunity, even if he did not state so explicitly.

“Younger, healthier people … getting the infection is not really a problem, and in fact, as we said months ago – when you isolate everyone, including all the healthy people, you’re prolonging the problem because you’re preventing population immunity,” Atlas told Fox News.

Atlas has also questioned the efficiency of masks, though other health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci have advocated for their use.

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