“This is because of the lockdown. This is because of the isolation. This is not direct damage from the virus,” he said.
Atlas has been criticized for comments made earlier this year in defense of a herd immunity strategy for handling the pandemic. He has denied this and denied that he argued for letting the pandemic run its course.
“I have never, literally never, advised the President of the United States to pursue a strategy of herd immunity, of opening the doors and letting people get infected. I have never advised that, I have never advocated for that to the task force, I have never told anybody in the White House that that’s what we should be doing,” Atlas said.
He also said that the concept of herd immunity is not controversial.
“It is known to exist, if you don’t understand herd immunity as an immunologist or as a doctor or anyone involved in the discussion about this, there’s something, you know, missing from your knowledge,” Atlas said. “Herd immunity is a phenomenon.”
Herd immunity develops when enough people get an infection and when there is a vaccine, Atlas said.
“That is the whole purpose of generating a vaccine,” he said. “That is the main purpose of giving widespread vaccination.”
The President talking about herd immunity shows that “he’s fluent with the topic,” according to Atlas. Not that “there’s some kind of an overt strategy of pushing infection, letting it go widespread throughout the population. That is a complete lie.”