US President Donald Trump listens as Dr Scott Atlas, a member of the administration's coronavirus task force, speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus disease. Picture: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
US President Donald Trump listens as Dr Scott Atlas, a member of the administration's coronavirus task force, speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus disease. Picture: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Donald Trump’s "coronavirus tsar" has quit.

Scott Atlas confirmed his resignation on Monday on the official US government communication channel, Twitter, no doubt raising howls of relief all over the Covid-ravaged land of the free. His contract was due to end this week.

Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford University’s right-wing Hoover Institution and a man whose experience of infectious diseases is worth less than a hill of beans, should never have been anywhere near the job in the first place. Lacking experience was certainly no obstacle to finding employment in the Trump administration — look at Jared and Ivanka.

Having frozen out his conscience and caution in the form of Anthony Fauci, who told the president exactly what he did not want to hear, Trump plumped for a toady for the job.

Atlas railed against masks, social distancing and stay-at-home orders. When Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer implemented new restrictions, he urged the people to "rise up" to protect their "freedom", which included, presumably, the freedom to get Covid and infect others.

The results of his regrettable tenure are in plain sight: on Monday, the US recorded 167,756 new cases. About 13.6-million Americans have been infected and 268,000 have died.

Some readers may remember Charles Atlas (no relation), the US mail order bodybuilder who made a mint out of his "dynamic tension" muscle-packing method, brought to the world with an ad campaign in which a ripped jock on a beach insults a scrawny guy in front of his girl with the immortal put-down: "Hey, skinny, yer ribs are showing."

Dr Atlas did not build any national muscle, nor did he carry the world on his shoulders. He merely shrugged.

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