World

New adviser giving Trump false information on virus: Top officials

WASHINGTON: Two senior US public health experts have raised concerns that White House adviser Scott Atlas is providing misleading or incorrect information on the pandemic to President Donald Trump, according to media reports on Monday.

The top US infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, told CNN on Monday he was concerned that information given by Dr Atlas - a late addition to the White House coronavirus task force - was "really taken either out of context or actually incorrect".

The comments from Dr Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, came hours after a news report quoted Dr Robert Redfield, director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, sharing similar concerns.

"Everything he says is false," Dr Redfield was quoted as saying during a Friday telephone call while on a plane from Atlanta to Washington, NBC reported.

Dr Redfield later told NBC he was speaking about Dr Atlas.

Dr Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no background in infectious diseases, has faced scrutiny for downplaying the importance of face masks and his reported views on "herd immunity", an approach that holds that once enough individuals have been infected and become immune, others are less likely to be infected.

The White House insists it is not pursuing such a strategy, although Mr Trump has mentioned it himself and repeated on Monday his view that the US is "rounding the corner" on the pandemic.

Dr Atlas on Monday defended his advice to the president.

"Everything I have said is directly from the data and the science," he said in a statement. - REUTERS

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