NBC News reported Monday that US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield was overheard during a phone call in public on a commercial airline saying, “Everything he says is false.”
NBC News, which heard the comment, said Redfield acknowledged after the flight from Atlanta to Washington, DC, that he was speaking about Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist who joined the White House Coronavirus Task Force in August.
NBC said that Redfield, in the conversation with a colleague on Friday, suggested Atlas is providing President Trump with misleading data about the efficacy of masks, young people’s susceptibility to the coronavirus and herd immunity.
In a statement to CNN, a CDC spokesman did not deny the conversation took place:
“NBC News is reporting one side of a private phone conversation by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield that was overheard on a plane from Atlanta Hartsfield airport. Dr. Redfield was having a private discussion regarding a number of points he has made publicly about Covid-19.”
A federal health official tells CNN, more broadly, “bottomline, the story is accurate.”
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
CNN has reported that Atlas – a critic of severe lockdowns who was supported herd immunity strategies against the coronavirus – has found himself at odds with other medical experts in his administration, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.
On Friday, Fauci said during an interview that the Trump administration has pivoted away from receiving daily guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force to focus more heavily on the economy. “We’re meeting now on an average of one and at the most two times a week,” Fauci said.