CDC Director Says Trump Adviser Is Wrong About Everything

CDC Director Robert Redfield says that if everyone wore masks we'd defeat COVID-19 in a couple of months.Pool Via Cnp/CNP via ZUMA

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A reporter for NBC News listened in on a telephone call a few days ago:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has grown increasingly concerned that President Donald Trump, pushed by a new member of his coronavirus task force, is sharing incorrect information about the pandemic with the public. Dr. Robert Redfield, who leads the CDC, suggested in a conversation with a colleague Friday that Dr. Scott Atlas is arming Trump with misleading data about a range of issues, including questioning the efficacy of masks, whether young people are susceptible to the virus and the potential benefits of herd immunity.

“Everything he says is false,” Redfield said during a phone call made in public on a commercial airline and overheard by NBC News.

It’s worth remembering that Redfield’s nomination as director of the CDC was controversial at the time. In addition to being accused of scientific misconduct in the ’90s, Redfield is a conservative Christian who has promoted abstinence-only policies for AIDS patients. He was viewed by many liberals as a likely promoter of bad science if Donald Trump asked for it, so it’s notable that he has refused to play along.

But there’s probably nothing that Redfield can do about Scott Atlas. Trump has finally found someone who will tell him what he wants to hear, and in Trumpworld that’s the highest credential of them all. Tomorrow night I imagine we can expect a flurry of Atlas-provided nonsense about COVID-19 when Trump takes the debate stage.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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