Dr. Scott Atlas, the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, explained Monday why the spike of coronavirus cases across the Sun Belt doesn't tell the full story.
According to Dr. Atlas, who was interviewed on Fox News' "The Story," Americans should be cautious of the media's reporting on the apparent COVID-19 spike because it "doesn't really matter how many cases" there are — what is important is "who gets the cases."
That is because, as Dr. Atlas explained, the COVID-19 mortality rate is just .04% for people under age 70 — which is equal to or lower than the seasonal flu — and the case spike is being driven by younger people contracting the virus on a larger scale.
"The overwhelming majority are younger, healthier people," Dr. Atlas said.
"It only matters if we cannot protect the high-risk people, which we are protecting ... how do I know? Because the death rates are not going up."
"Right now, the cases have been going up for three weeks. We have no increase — in fact, we have a decrease in death rates," Dr. Atlas explained. "You know, it doesn't matter if you get the illness if you're going to fully recover and be fine from it. That is what people must understand. For younger, healthier people, there's not a high risk from this disease at all."
In fact, according to Dr. Atlas, America may be on the path to so-called "herd immunity," which is developed when a large number of healthy people in a population contract the virus and eventually provide protection for more vulnerable and high-risk people.
Later, Dr. Atlas called out how the media is reporting on hospitalizations and the fact that COVID-19 hospitalization data does not distinguish between COVID-positive patients who are hospitalized for reasons unrelated to the virus and patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-related complications.
"When I looked at every single hospital area in Texas today, 15-20% of people in the hospital as inpatients are COVID-positive patients. That means 80-85% have nothing to do with COVID-19. And the same thing goes with some of these other states. There are people hospitalized, a large number, because they are tested as COVID-positive, somehow they are categorized as COVID hospitalizations," Dr. Atlas explained. "That's a problem."
In the end, Dr. Atlas called it "ridiculous" to suggest that reopening policies are responsible for the spike in cases.
Instead, Dr. Atlas attributed the spike to "large protests" at the end of May and through June. "It's not the guy getting his hair cut in the barbershop," he said.