Lifting Lockdowns Not the Culprit Behind New Surge in Coronavirus Cases, Doctor Says

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Massive protests and proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border explains the recent surge in coronavirus cases far better than lifting lockdowns, Scott Atlas, M.D., a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, told Fox News this weekend. Bucking various health experts who have defended the George Floyd protests in the name of fighting the “virus” of racism, Atlas ventured to state the obvious: that people “protesting, sharing megaphones, screaming” is a “setup to spread cases.”


Most of the new cases in the Southwest — in California, Arizona, and Texas — are sprouting up in counties closest to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“When you look in the southern counties of California, Arizona and the bordering counties of Texas — with the Mexico border — these are where most of these cases are really exploding,” Atlas told Fox News. “And then you look at the Mexico map and in Mexico, that’s where their cases are. Their cases are in the northern border zone states. And it turns out the timeline here correlates much more to the Mexico timeline of increasing cases than anything else.”

The doctor insisted that the lifting of lockdowns — the re-opening of various states — likely did not lead to the surge in new cases.

“When you really look closely at these so-called re-opening policies, whether it’s in Georgia or Florida or Texas, you know, we didn’t really see a big correlation of cases and hospitalizations from that,” Atlas said. “That’s really not true. That’s sort of some sloppy thinking, I think, again. We really … have to look closely at why these things are happening.”

He argued that “California didn’t really reopen. Yet they have cases coming up.”

Then Atlas touched on one of the main issues — the massive protests in the wake of the horrific police killing of George Floyd.

“They correlate mainly to two things — the big thousands and thousands of people with protesting, sharing megaphones, screaming. That’s a setup to spread cases,” the doctor said. “And also when you look at the analysis of the border counties, there’s a tremendous amount of cases coming over the border and exchanging with families in the northern Mexico states.”


The doctor warned that hospitals are getting crowded not just because of new cases but because hospitals are finally addressing “regular medical care” again. “We have locked that down before and that policy kills people. So we don’t want to go back to that,” he said. Indeed, the original lockdowns often put a halt to all “elective” surgeries, including heart surgeries and cancer treatments.

The doctor presented a two-part solution: “really protect the high risk in a more diligent way than we are, the very highest-risk group” and “increase the hospital capacity.”

Atlas’s remarks attributing the rise in coronavirus cases to the protests are important. Many left-leaning politicians, journalists, and even public health officials have insisted that the George Floyd protests and other mass demonstrations would not spread the coronavirus. Even last week, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the George Floyd protests while urging New Yorkers to avoid “large gatherings.”

Left-leaning news outlets have condemned President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies as a vector for coronavirus spread while giving a pass to — or even celebrating — the massive protests.

Yet even Mayor Jenny Durkan (D-Seattle), in her order to finally clear out the antifa occupation of CHOP, admitted that the lawless rioters who seized six blocks of her city had indeed spread coronavirus.


If Democrats wish to convince Americans that they are the Party of Science (TM), they must at least acknowledge the obvious about the protests.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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