- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 28, 2021

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado — The U.S. pandemic response has provided international bad actors with a blueprint on how to “bring the United States to its knees,” according to a former member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Dr. Scott Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, warned that the “draconian shutdowns” and other restrictions enacted in some cases by unelected public health officials, and their widespread acceptance by the public, have left the nation vulnerable.

“The observers of the behavior of the United States and the Western world to this virus is just an obvious indication of how to bring the United States to its knees,” Dr. Atlas said Saturday at the annual Steamboat Institute Freedom Conference.

He added that “I live in California where it is insane. We have young people, Stanford students going outside with masks, totally passive acceptance of everything.

“And this is very frightening because if I were China — and I’m not a foreign policy person, but this is so obvious to me — anyone, North Korea, if they release a virus or even say there’s a virus, ‘Look, it’s killing our people,’ the United States shuts down immediately,” Mr. Atlas said. “There is no American strength in my view of its people to say no. We can’t even say no to having a five-year-old being mandated to have a mask on his face for eight hours a day.”

He concluded: “This is out of control, and we are uniquely off the rails.”

Dr. Atlas has come under fire for bucking the public-health establishment on pandemic restrictions — a letter last year from more than 100 Stanford-affiliated doctors and researchers said his statements “run counter to established science” —while winning praise for his defense of individual liberties.

In March, Hillsdale College gave him its Freedom Leadership Award, the school’s highest honor.

A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Dr. Atlas said the U.S. response has been more restrictive than that of Western Europe, which has seen mass protests in recent months against vaccine passports and far more students enrolled for in-person learning.

“We shut down our schools in the fall term of 2020. We were the only country of our peer nations to do that,” Dr. Atlas said. “Seventeen percent of our pupils in the fall were in in-person schools. In Western Europe, almost 100%. We sacrificed our children out of fear for adults — this is a disease that does not have significant risks for children, period. That’s been proven.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends COVID-19 vaccines for those 12 and older, while universities are increasingly requiring students returning to campus in the fall to be vaccinated.

“We shut down schools, and now we’re forcing our kids to get vaccinated. Why? In my view, it’s to be shields for adults,” said Dr. Atlas, who had a video warning of lockdown harms removed in September from YouTube.

For more information on pandemic mandates, he recommended Collateral Global, a website led by Stanford University Medical School professor Jay Bhattacharya, a co-author of the anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration.

Among the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic is trust in public-health officials, educators and scientists, Dr. Atlas said.

“I’ve had 100 or more emails from scientists and academic leaders all over the country saying, Scott, you’re right, keep saying it, but I cannot step forward, I’m afraid for my family,” he said. “This is the country we’re living in right now. We have to step up and take individual responsibility and you have to trust yourself because the trust in the expert class is gone.”

His book, “A Plague Upon Our House: My Fight at the Trump White House to Stop Covid from Destroying America,” is scheduled to be published Nov. 23 by Bombardier Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

The two-day conservative conference, which wrapped up Saturday, drew 370 attendees, the most in its 13-year history.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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