Dr. Scott Atlas told Fox News’ “The Story” that a significant percentage of the surge in Texas hospital beds “have nothing to do with COVID-19.”
Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, urged viewers not to panic at the spike in coronavirus cases before explaining that it “doesn’t really matter how many cases” there are, only “who gets the cases.”
For those under 70, Atlas said, the death rate is actually lower than the seasonal flu.
“We realize we have to wait to have the story play out here, but right now, the cases have been going up for three weeks and we have no increase,” he told guest host Trace Gallagher. “In fact, we have a decrease in death rates. You know, it doesn’t matter if you get the illness if you’re going to fully recover and be fine from it. That is what people must understand. For younger healthier people, there’s not a higher risk from this disease at all.”
Gallagher noted the difference between the positive public reaction to antibody studies that show a high percentage have had the virus already and when “everybody tends to panic a little bit” when new case surges are announced.
“That’s true, and I think that there’s something else that goes unspoken,” Atlas responded. “When you have a lot of low-risk people get the infection, that’s how you generate population immunity.”
Turning to the issue of hospitalizations, Atlas said, “When I looked at every single hospital area in Texas today, 15-20% of people in the hospital as inpatients are COVID positive patients. That means 80-85% have nothing to do with Covid-19. And the same thing goes with some of the other states. There are people hospitalized, a large number, because they are tested as COVID positive somehow they are categorized as COVID hospitalizations. That’s a problem.”
Gallagher cited a Los Angeles Times headline that listed a hospital at 99% capacity but then explained later that “only 30% are COVID patients.” (RELATED: Staying In Place Is ‘Actually Harmful’: Stanford’s Scott Atlas Makes The Case For Herd Immunity)
“It’s a little misleading,” Gallagher said.
Atlas urged leaders to “communicate to people what the facts are” and not “turn to panic.”