Dr. Scott Atlas: Prolonged Lockdown Is Severely Harmful To The Country, "It's Killing People" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Dr. Scott Atlas: Prolonged Lockdown Is Severely Harmful To The Country, "It's Killing People"

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Dr. Scott Atlas, special adviser to the president, responds to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden vowing to shut down the U.S. economy again if necessary to protect the country from the coronavirus.

"I think we all know that the prolonged lockdown is severely harmful to our country,” Atlas told host Martha MacCallum. “In fact, it's killing people. We don't just talk even about the medical care that's been missed. We're not just talking about the unemployment-related suicides and other harms. We have the latest data from the CDC that showed that there's a massive increase in people with psychiatric illness and depressive and anxiety disorders."


MARTHA MACCALLUM: Dr. Scott Atlas joins me now. He is special advisor to the president and senior advisor at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Doctor, welcome. Good to have you here tonight.

SCOTT ATLAS, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: We hear so much about listening to the scientists, although we know that scientists have different opinions on how they interpret what is going on. What do you, do you believe that there might be a necessity if this comes roaring back in the fall, more complicated with the flu? It gets worse in the second wave that it might merit another shutdown?

ATLAS: Thanks for having me, Martha. Well, I mean, that kind of statement is really for somebody who hasn't been paying attention to actually the science. Because by now, I think we all know that the prolonged lockdown is severely harmful to our country. In fact, it's killing people.

We don't just talk even about the medical care that's been missed, we're not just talking about the unemployment-related suicides and other harms. We have the latest data from the CDC that showed that there is a massive increase in people with psychiatric illness and depressive and anxiety disorders.

MACCALLUM: Yes, incredible numbers.

ATLAS: And when you look specifically from people who are young adults. We are talking about people 18 to 25. There is a shocking figure here. And that is, that 25 plus percent of our young adults 18 to 25, have contemplated suicide in the past 30 days. This is really has got to end.

And we know the president here has a strategic and appropriate policy, which is protecting the vulnerable. We know who's at risk here. It's not everybody. It's not about all the cases that's the most important metric. It's about saving lives by protecting the vulnerable, by preventing hospital overcrowding, which we are really doing well, and by opening up the economy, opening up the schools.

Because American lives are being destroyed. And this is true, by the way all over the world. Even the U.K. and other countries are recognizing --

MACCALLUM: Yes.

ATLAS: -- the lockdown must end. This is really an inappropriate use of policy here. And by now we should have learned that.

MACCALLUM: Yes, it said the despondency among that age group is so awful. I mean, it's just a terrible outcome of this whole thing. Do you think that there are signs that the virus is winding down and do you think there will be another wave in the fall that could escalate?

ATLAS: Well, I mean, we could say this. From the data, the case fatality rate in the United States has gone down by about 90 percent from its peak in March and April. And part of that is that we are much better, of course, at treating patients.

One third of length of stays, one-half the mortality if you are hospitalized, less need for a ventilator, less need for an ICU, and we also realized who is not going to get sick or severely ill. And that is young people. And we know the data.

We know that even JAMA Pediatrics studied 46 -- pediatrics in North America and said, quote, "the risk of a severe illness from COVID-19 is far less for young people than from seasonal influenza."

We have to really understand what the actual science shows. No one knows that there's going to be a second wave. And I think there's been a massive amount of mobilized resources by this administration really, a massive amount of production of ventilators, massive amount of development of drugs and life-saving therapies.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

ATLAS: And this is, we're in much better shape. If there is a second wave, we are going to be in much better shape to deal with it.

MACCALLUM: I need a quick answer if you can, doctor, because I'm running out of time, but what would your advice be to these universities that are seeing cases when they bring the kids back. They are starting to see cases, 80, 100 cases, in some cases even more than that. What would you tell them about what they should do?

ATLAS: I would tell them to be open because we have a very low risk environment in universities. Ninety-eight percent of university students are under 35. Ninety percent of public four-year college students are under 25. And these are very safe environments.

When you start testing people who are asymptomatic or mildly ill, then you end up getting the schools closed by definition because there is some kind of an outbreak.

MACCALLUM: Right.

ATLAS: Which is really a misnomer. But then you end up sending them back home to a high-risk environment, which is where their elderly parents live. It's totally nonsensical really and anti-science to close schools on the basis of --

MACCALLUM: Yes.

ATLAS: -- patients who are really asymptomatic and have very low risk.

MACCALLUM: Dr. Scott Atlas, always good to talk with you, sir. Thank you very much.

ATLAS: Thank you, Martha.
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