US President Donald Trump’s controversial special adviser on the coronavirus, Scott Atlas, has resigned.
Thanking Mr Trump for the honour of serving the American people, Dr Atlas said he had “always relied on the latest science and evidence without any political consideration or influence”.
During his four months in the role, Dr. Atlas question the need for masks and other measures to control the pandemic.
He also repeatedly clashed with other members of the coronavirus task force.
The radiologist and senior fellow at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution joined the task force in August. As well as questioning the usefulness of masks he was against lockdowns and supported herd immunity as a strategy to deal with the outbreak.
He sparked further controversy last month when he tweeted “people rise up” in response to new restrictions imposed in Michigan.
His tweet came just weeks after it emerged the state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, was the subject of an alleged kidnapping attempt by militia members opposed to virus mitigation efforts.
Public health officials – including top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci – had accused Dr Atlas of giving President Trump misleading information about the spread of the virus.
After Dr Atlas’ resignation, Dr Fauci told the BBC that the current situation in the US was worse than at any time since the start of the outbreak. “The slope of our curve is very steep so that every day it seems we almost break a new record,” he said.
As of Sunday, the number of Covid-19 cases recorded in November in the US surpassed four million, double the figure recorded in October.
Academics at Stanford University welcomed Dr Atlas’ resignation, saying it was “long overdue and underscores the triumph of science and truth over falsehoods and misinformation”.