"The media has a done a poor job of explaining [and] allowing the data to be brought forward," Atlas told "The Ingraham Angle" one day after a heated exchange with NBC News reporter Peter Alexander in the White House briefing room.
Alexander had pointed out that Atlas had contradicted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield about how much of the U.S. population remains vulnerable to COVID-19.
“You’re supposed to believe the science and I’m telling you the science," Atlas fired back.
"We're trying to do the best we can," Atlas told host Laura Ingraham Thursday, "because the truth is critical here, and we're in a pandemic, and it’s been a tragedy, and 200,000 people have died."
"When you get facts that are sort of partial truths, I think it's very damaging," Atlas added. "The American people are very afraid. No one wants to be afraid and the way to calm fear is to actually know the data and explain it very clearly and logically."
Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, explained that the claim that 90% of the population is susceptible to the virus is untrue because many people have T-cell immunity as well as antibodies.
"It explains a lot about perhaps why children have very, very low risk from this, and explains perhaps why people in Asia didn’t have as much of a problem because they had prior coronavirus exposure," Atlas told Ingraham.
"It really is a story that is evolving here. But we need to understand it, because we are not all susceptible to the infection, and we know now, it looks very likely that at least three times that number of people [who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies] have immunity and perhaps even more. It depends when you do the antibody tests, because it’s transient."
Ingraham pointed to a CDC update that showed people aged 0 to 19 years have a 99.997% chance of surviving the virus, those aged 20 to 49 years have a 99.98% chance, those aged 50 to 69 yars have a 99.5% change and people 70 and older have a 94.6% chance.
"This is a failure, in my view, of the public health officials who have not come forward with all the knowledge that we have, like I said, that we’ve learned," Atlas concluded. "The data is out there, and we don’t all have to be paralyzed with fear. We have to do very, very diligent protection of the people who are vulnerable, and those are usually older people with other comorbidities, and we need to open because we know the harms of not opening."