New White House adviser joins Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida for daily coronavirus updates

ORLANDO, Florida – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis toured Monday to brief the public on the state’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and he has benefited from White House help in the form of the final adviser to the administration on coronavirus, Dr. Scott Atlas.

In three stops, across the state from Tallahassee, The Villages and Tampa, Atlas joined DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, touting the reopening of schools and say that the risks to raising a child are much greater than illness.

Atlas, who is not an expert in infectious diseases, said that “children are not at serious risk of this disease, it is very safe for them, they can handle it”.

While 1.1 million K-12 students, about 40% of Florida’s student body, returned for on-campus learning in August, the majority learn through virtual or hybrid options. . Tens of thousands of kindergarten to grade 12 students have also been missing, according to school districts.

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Atlas has said that distance learning alone “fails” and disproportionately affects low-income families, saying “it’s a huge problem for these families.”

“When you close schools to in-person learning it’s extremely destructive, not just the fact that the length of time that reading skills decrease by 30%, math skills decrease by 50%,” Atlas said. .

In mid-August, President Donald Trump announced that Atlas had joined the White House as a pandemic advisor. Atlas, the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a fellow of the Hoover Conservative Institution at Stanford, has no expertise in public health or infectious diseases.

According to the Stanford University biography of Atlas, “he studies the impact of government and the private sector on access, quality and pricing of health care, global trends in innovation in health care. healthcare and key economic issues related to the future of technology-based healthcare. advances.”

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Atlas is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel and has spoken out against the lockdown measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

The hiring of Atlas comes amid continuing tensions between the president and Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s foremost infectious disease expert, and Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator. While Birx remains closely involved in the administration’s response to the pandemic, she and Fauci have publicly contradicted the president’s rosy picture of a virus that has now killed more than 183,300 people in the United States and infected it. millions of people across the country.

DeSantis said Monday there was no turning back for Florida now that most businesses and institutions have been able to reopen.

“We’re never going to do any of these blockages again,” he told reporters in The Villages.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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