Atlas has been a lightning rod for controversy since he joined the White House team in August as an advisor to President Donald Trump on the pandemic. Atlas has been accused of advocating for "herd immunity," a strategy in which the SARS-CoV-2 virus is allowed to circulate among healthy individuals with few lockdown restrictions, while more vulnerable populations are protected. Atlas has denied supporting herd immunity.
On October 31, Atlas conducted an interview with RT in which he claimed that lockdowns are a failure of public policy, discussed his disagreements with Dr. Anthony Fauci, and stated why he believes the economy should reopen.
But RT (previously known as Russia Today), is funded by the Russian government and has widely been described as a propaganda outlet for the country. RT America was required to file as a foreign agent by the U.S. government in 2017.
After his appearance on RT was widely criticized, Atlas apologized for the interview the next day. He said he was unaware of RT's status as a foreign agent, and said he was "taken advantage of."
Atlas is a neuroradiologist previously with Stanford University who prior to joining the Trump Administration was a commentator with the Hoover Institution.
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