The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was overheard on a phone call expressing his concern about the White House’s top coronavirus adviser to President Donald Trump.
“Everything he says is false,” Dr. Robert Redfield said during the call while he was on a commercial flight from Atlanta, where the CDC is based, to Washington, D.C. NBC News overheard Redfield’s side of the call, and he later confirmed that he was speaking about Dr. Scott Atlas.
Atlas has a neurology background, but does not have experience dealing with infectious diseases or public health.
Others on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, including Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, have also expressed concern and frustration with the information and advice Atlas is giving to Trump. The president has long questioned the efficacy of wearing a mask or cloth face covering to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic, which contradicts what Redfield, Fauci, Birx, and other public health and infectious disease experts say.
Trump has even corrected Redfield on multiple occasions, including recently when he said the career virologist was “confused” about when a coronavirus vaccine will be ready.
Atlas told NBC News regarding Redfield’s phone call comment, “Everything I have said is directly from the data and the science. It echoes what is said by many of the top medical scientists in the world, including those at Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford.”
A CDC statement read, “NBC News is reporting one side of a private phone conversation by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield that was overheard on a plane from Atlanta Hartsfield airport. Dr. Redfield was having a private discussion regarding a number of points he has made publicly about COVID-19.”
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