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Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

The big picture: As a special government employee, Atlas was set to serve a 130-day period that expires this week. The administration's attention on Operation Warp Speed, which is outside of Atlas’ remit, has also reduced his role.

  • Since he joined the task force in August, Atlas has aligned himself with Trump in downplaying the impact of COVID-19. Trump touted Atlas’ guidance to justify his anti-lockdown stance.
  • But Atlas faced backlash for dismissing schools’ concerns about reopening as “hysteria.” He also pushed to resume college sports activities.
  • Atlas has not attended coronavirus task force meetings in recent weeks.

What they're saying: CDC director Robert Redfield has criticized Atlas repeatedly and told a colleague "everything he says is false."

  • In October, Twitter removed a tweet from Atlas that belittled the importance of face masks, per CNN.
  • Atlas maintained his position on Fox News later on Monday, telling Tucker Carlson the U.S. needs to resume in-person schooling “ASAP," and that science has been politicized.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Florida police arrest data scientist who challenged state on COVID-19 dashboard

Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard displayed on a computer screen. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rebekah Jones, a former Florida health department data scientist who says she was wrongly fired last year, has been charged with one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Driving the news: Jones turned herself in Sunday night after a warrant was issued for her arrest. Authorities raided her home last month, causing outcry online after she tweeted a video of the incident.

Jan 19, 2021 - Health

WHO warns of "catastrophic moral failure" over coronavirus vaccine access

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday the world is "on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure" because of unequal COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Why it matters: Tedros noted during an executive session that 39 million vaccine doses had been administered in 49 higher-income countries, while one lowest-income nation had "just 25 doses."