In his resignation letter obtained by Fox News, Atlas said he worked hard to ‘save the lives and help Americans through this pandemic’.
He added that he ‘always relied on the latest science and evidence, without political consideration or influence’.
‘As time went on, like all scientists and health policy scholars, I learned new information and synthesized the latest data from around the world, all in an effort to provide you with the best information to serve the greater public good,’ Atlas wrote.
President Donald Trump ‘s special adviser on the coronavirus pandemic Dr Scott Atlas (pictured in August) has resigned
In his resignation letter obtained by Fox News, Atlas (pictured with Trump in September) said he worked hard to ‘save the lives and help Americans through this pandemic’.
‘But, perhaps more than anything, my advice was always focused on minimizing all the harms from both the pandemic and the structural policies themselves, especially to the working class and the poor,’ he added.
Atlas was employed on a 130-day term, which was set to expire this week.
In the statement, Atlas also wished the best to the incoming Joe Biden administration.
‘I sincerely wish the new team all the best as they guide the nation through these trying, polarized times,’ Atlas said.
‘With the emerging treatments and vaccines, I remain highly optimistic that America will thrive once again and overcome the adversity of the pandemic and all that it has entailed.’
On Monday night, Atlas appeared in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
The doctor didn’t mention his resignation but he did speak about how ‘objective journalism is nearly dead’ and that ‘science has been politicized’.
Atlas told Carlson that ‘we are living in extremely polarizing time’.
‘You know this as much as anybody. It’s an election year. We have social media where people go sort of ballistic and feel empowered to do so. I think there is a serious problem honestly in the country.
‘Because there is a bigger issue here and that is that America and its universities really need to allow, without attack, without rebuke, without intimidation the free exchange of ideas,’ Atlas explained.
Atlas has been criticized for calling for states to reopen, and saying lockdowns are ‘extremely harmful to Americans’.
He told Carlson: ‘The point isn’t that I was right. The point isn’t that the advice I gave the president was right. The point isn’t that the president was right. Although those things are true. The point is that we really need to open up in person schools asap because it’s so destructive, so harmful.’
Earlier this month, Atlas came under fire for suggesting that people should invite their elderly relatives for Thanksgiving because it might be their last.
His harsh advice contradicted that of most public health experts who advised families not to gather for fear of spreading the coronavirus.
Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no experience in public health, made the remark as he attacked lockdowns on Fox News for ‘isolating’ people.
‘This kind of isolation is [also] a tragedy of the elderly who are now being told “don’t see your family at Thanksgiving”,’ he told host Martha MacCallum at the time.
‘For many people this is their final Thanksgiving, believe it or not. We have to have a policy… which is a whole person policy. It’s not just about stopping cases of Covid.’
His advice ran counter to that issued by Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease adviser since 1984, who said people need to avoid large gatherings this year - especially those involving the elderly.
‘People should be very careful about social gatherings, particularly when members of the family might be at a risk because of their age,’ Fauci said last month.
‘You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected.’
There are more than 13 million confirmed cases of the virus in the US with at least 267,600 deaths
A little over a week ago, Stanford University faculty members voted to condemn Atlas for spreading misinformation about the pandemic.
The Stanford Faculty Senate (SFS) announced the vote on a resolution which passed with 85 per cent approval in a scathing statement, calling Atlas’ actions ‘anathema to our values and belief that we should use knowledge for good’.
‘As elected representatives of the Stanford faculty, we strongly condemn his behavior,’ the resolution said of Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute.
‘It violates the core values of our faculty and the expectations under the Stanford Code of Conduct, which states that we all “are responsible for sustaining the high ethical standards of this institution.'”
The resolution outlined a number of statements for which Atlas has faced significant criticism in recent weeks - including criticizing lockdowns, discouraging the use of masks and claiming that only those who are vulnerable need protection from the virus.
It accused Atlas of spreading disinformation that not only ‘contradicts medical science’ but also damages Stanford’s ‘reputation and academic standing’.
The resolution zeroed in on one incident last week, when Atlas urged Michigan residents to ‘rise up’ against new restrictions imposed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in response to the state’s alarming surge in coronavirus cases.
Leading the charge to condemn Atlas was Dr David Spiegel of the Stanford School of Medicine, who said: ‘What Atlas has done is an embarrassment to the university.
‘He is using his real affiliation with Hoover to provide credibility in issues he has no professional expertise to discuss in a professional way.’
Also criticizing Atlas during the SFS meeting was Condoleezza Rice, the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution and former Secretary of State under President George Bush.
Rice said that many of Atlas’ comments about the pandemic were at odds with the beliefs of the Hoover Institute and called his Michigan tweet ‘offensive and well beyond the boundaries of what is appropriate for someone in a position of authority, such as the one he holds’.
In October, Twitter removed a ‘misleading’ tweet from Atlas who claimed that masks don’t work.
In the tweet shared at the time, Atlas wrote: ‘Masks work? No.’
Atlas then used examples of areas where he said ‘cases exploded even with mandates’.
He included the following locations in the tweet: Los Angeles, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Philippines, United Kingdom, Spain and Israel.
Twitter subsequently removed the tweet, but Atlas followed up with a response to the censorship.
‘That means the right policy is @realDonaldTrump guideline: use masks for their intended purpose - when close to others, especially hi risk. Otherwise, social distance. No widespread mandates. #CommonSense,’ Atlas wrote.