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Scott Atlas, member of the White House's coronavirus task force. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President Trump's favorite coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas apologized on Twitter for appearing Saturday on Russia’s state-controlled RT network, where he insisted that the U.S. is turning the corner on the pandemic and that lockdowns are actually “killing people.”

Why it matters: RT, formerly known as Russia Today, is a Russian state-owned media outlet registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. This means that all of its content is labeled as propaganda attempting to influence U.S. public opinion, policy and laws.

  • Atlas appeared on RT just hours after the Washington Post released an interview with Anthony Fauci, who criticized Atlas for his controversial views on the pandemic.
  • “I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci told the Post. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”

The big picture: Atlas, a radiologist, has drawn criticism for reportedly promoting "herd immunity" as a COVID-19 strategy and for casting doubt on the effectiveness of masks, which studies show can help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

  • “The public health leadership … they’re killing people with their fear-inducing shutdown policies,” Atlas said on RT.
  • He also described lockdowns as an “epic failure of public policy by people who refuse to accept they were wrong.”

Driving the news: "I recently did an interview with RT and was unaware they are a registered foreign agent," Atlas tweeted. "I regret doing the interview and apologize for allowing myself to be taken advantage of. I especially apologize to the national security community who is working hard to defend us."

Go deeper

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California governor and family in quarantine after coronavirus exposure

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted late Sunday that he and his family are quarantining after being exposed to COVID-19.

Details: Newsom said they learned Friday that three of his children had come into contact with a California Highway Patrol officer who tested positive for the coronavirus. "Thankfully, the entire family tested negative today," Newsom said.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to continue quarantine after receiving negative COVID test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Sunday that a previously inconclusive coronavirus test came back negative, but she will continue to follow CDC guidelines and self-isolate until she's able to get a more conclusive negative result.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Oxford University says its coronavirus vaccine is up to 90% effective

A scientist working during at the Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, in June. Photo: Steve Parsons/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The University of Oxford announced Monday that a COVID-19 vaccine it's developed with AstraZeneca is 70.4% effective in preventing people from developing symptoms, per interim data from Phase 3 trials.

Why it matters: The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is shown to work in different age groups and can be stored at fridge temperature. It is much cheaper than other vaccines in development and is part of the global COVAX initiative, designed to ensure doses go where they're most needed.