Dr. Scott Atlas knocks contract tracing push: 'It's the improper tool at this point in this infection'

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Hoover Institution senior fellow Dr. Scott Atlas told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Thursday that using contact tracing as a prerequisite for reopening U.S. cities forced into lockdown by the coronavirus pandemic is "simply illogical."

"Contact tracing is an important tool for public health pandemics but not now," Atlas explained, "not in this stage when millions and millions of people already have the virus.

"It's sort of a completely illogical use of this very important tool," he added. "This contact tracing is useful when a new pandemic starts very early in a very focused small group like it did in South Korea at the beginning of all this."

Apple and Google have partnered to build a Bluetooth-enabled technology that could allow widespread contact tracing as a way to contain the novel coronavirus and help countries find a path back to normalcy.

"There is no reason they have contact tracing as a predicate for reopening."

— Dr. Scott Atlas, 'Tucker Carlson Tonight'

"Right now, this is simply illogical and impossible to do contact tracing," Atlas said. "There is no reason they have contact tracing as a predicate for reopening. It’s the improper tool at this point in this infection."

Contact tracing has been a significant talking point in the debate surrounding the reopening of many U.S. states, but Atlas -- the former neuroradiology chief at Stanford Medical Center -- called that debate "another example of what’s happening in this whole narrative," where proposed actions are not proven effective by data.


"Instead of looking at the data we have, and known medical science and then using logic to guide policy, and instead of acknowledging the massive harms of total isolation, we are jumping from sort of an obsession about some sensationalized numbers or hypothetical objection, for an obsession now about testing," said Atlas.

"Testing is very important for three groups of people only right now: People entering nursing homes, people working in a hospital ... pandemic responders, and patients who have symptoms of a viral infection," he added. "We need to know if they're contagious, but contact tracing is just simply ... I hate to say it’s irrational so I’ll say it’s just not the appropriate time to use that tool."

Fox News' Christopher Carbone contributed to this report.