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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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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