The anti-Fauci speaks out
A Plague Upon Our House: My Fight at the Trump White House to Stop COVID from Destroying America
by Scott W. Atlas, M.D.
352 pages, hardcover $23.49, Kindle $14.99, paperback $9.00
Bombardier Books, distributed by Simon and Schuster, 2021)
Scott W. Atlas, M.D. is a fifteen-year fellow in health care policy studies at the Hoover Institution of Stanford after an illustrious career as a neuroradiologist, with his last posting as chief of neuroradiology at Stanford Medical School. He is the editor of Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain and Spine — the leading textbook in the field, which has been translated into several languages, now in its fifth edition. He has written prolifically as an essayist and author on health care policy during his last fifteen-plus years at Hoover.
I first was impressed by Dr. Atlas when I read his April 2011 Commentary takedown of the United Nations comparative study of two hundred health care systems around the world that ranked the U.S. at 32nd, behind some real losers. Dr. Atlas's article, "Worst Study Ever," made his case for the socialist bias of the U.N. and World Health Organization with insight and eloquence, compelling me to send it to all my physician and non-physician colleagues.
The book reviewed here is a narrative on Dr. Atlas's work as a special adviser to President Trump on the Coronavirus Task Force from July to December 2020. The book is a blow-by-blow of Dr. Atlas's early 2020 efforts to analyze the COVID crisis that eventually resulted in his public statements and writings and then his engagement to assist the Trump administration by moving to D.C. in August, into the cauldron that was the summer 2020 White House.
The book provides a vivid story with plenty of basic science discussions of Dr. Atlas's early 2020 interest in and energetic research on the COVID matter through the summer and fall White House activities running up to the election of 2020. Nothing about this book is boring, even the relatively technical medical information — which Dr. Atlas provides without confusing jargon.
I looked forward to reading Atlas's account because I knew he would have a good understanding of the medical and health policy issues, but I had no idea of the intensity of his scholarship in the first eight months of the pandemic and, after that, his engagement in the White House battles with the Coronavirus Task Force troika of Fauci, Birx, and Redfield. Atlas tells his story and portrays the characters of import in a vivid way, so there is no doubt that the COVID response physician team he dealt with was surly, incompetent, and emblematic of entrenched bureaucratic arrogance.
Dr. Atlas's book has exposed the disgusting underbelly of the United States official public health bureaucracy — the National Institutes of Health, Communicable Disease Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, U.S. Public Health Service, and other support services. It's a scandal for the ages. The book is enormously valuable in that it exposes the malfeasance of Fauci, Birx, and Redfield, and also their lies about Trump doing nothing while they were the hardworking heroes who followed the science. Atlas exposes their mendacity.
Dr. Atlas tells a first-person story in his own way: direct, plain, scholarly, a good man in a bureaucratic sausage-grinder, with Fauci the chief sausage-maker. Fauci, Birx, and Redfield are exposed as too incompetent, lazy, mendacious, or malevolent to do good research as compared to Dr. Atlas, so the contrast is vivid. For the reader, Dr. Atlas is our proxy and guide, a reasonable and blunt man trapped with dissemblers and self-serving narcissist bureaucrats in a realm where back-stabbing and betrayals abound.
Atlas repeatedly went to meetings as the only person prepared to talk about the scientific studies to determine appropriate COVID mitigation and intervention. Fauci, Birx, and Redfield are exposed as marching in lockstep, covering for each other, and not serious scientists, unaware of the studies that show the lack of benefit of some of their pet mitigation actions, the negative impacts of lockdowns, school closings, mask mandates, and the inappropriate censorship and suppression of ambulatory early treatments.
"Fauci did not present scientific research. ... I never heard him speak about his own critical analysis of any published research studies." When Atlas argued against proposals and statements from Fauci and Birx, he was never supported except after the meetings. By the time Atlas was in D.C., it was too late to replace the junk science, and Trump didn't have the nerve to stop the Fauci-Birx-Media juggernaut.
The disaster came in March with the lockdown to flatten the curve, and it went downhill from there, with Fauci running the show.
I agree with Atlas: Trump should have first of all found reliable medical advice, and it wasn't going to come from Fauci, Birx, or Redfield. He should have fired the saboteurs and engaged better people. He should have taken the lead and spoken more, not less about the important things: testing problems, the importance of basic sense like case fatality rates and age-adjusted mortality instead of the panicky case-counting. He should have taken the lead and not delegated authority to Deep State antagonists.
The value of this book is inestimable. Scott Atlas is a giant, and D.C. was and is populated by agency lilliputians.
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