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September 9, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As infectious diseases physicians and researchers, microbiologist and immunologists,

epidemiologists and health policy leaders, we stand united in efforts to develop and promote
science-based solutions that advance human health and prevent suffering from the coronavirus
pandemic. In this pursuit, we share a commitment to a basic principle derived from the
Hippocratic Oath: Primum Non Nocere (First, Do No Harm).

To prevent harm to the public’s health, we also have both a moral and an ethical responsibility to
call attention to the falsehoods and misrepresentations of science recently fostered by Dr. Scott
Atlas, a former Stanford Medical School colleague and current senior fellow at the Hoover
Institute at Stanford University. Many of his opinions and statements run counter to established
science and, by doing so, undermine public-health authorities and the credible science that
guides effective public health policy. The preponderance of data, accrued from around the
world, currently supports each of the following statements:

● The use of face masks, social distancing, handwashing and hygiene have been shown to
substantially reduce the spread of Covid-19. Crowded indoor spaces are settings that
significantly increase the risk of community spread of SARS-CoV-2.

● Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 frequently occurs from asymptomatic people, including

children and young adults, to family members and others. Therefore, testing
asymptomatic individuals, especially those with probable Covid-19 exposure is important
to break the chain of ongoing transmission.

● Children of all ages can be infected with SARS-CoV-2. While infection is less common
in children than in adults, serious short-term and long-term consequences of Covid-19 are
increasingly described in children and young people.

● The pandemic will be controlled when a large proportion of a population has developed
immunity (referred to as herd immunity) and that the safest path to herd immunity is
through deployment of rigorously evaluated, effective vaccines that have been approved
by regulatory agencies.

● In contrast, encouraging herd immunity through unchecked community transmission is

not a safe public health strategy. In fact, this approach would do the opposite, causing a
significant increase in preventable cases, suffering and deaths, especially among
vulnerable populations, such as older individuals and essential workers.
Commitment to science-based decision-making is a fundamental obligation of public
health policy. The rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the US, with consequent morbidity
and mortality, are among the highest in the world. The policy response to this pandemic
must reinforce the science, including that evidence-based prevention and the safe
development, testing and delivery of efficacious therapies and preventive measures,
including vaccines, represent the safest path forward. Failure to follow the science -- or
deliberately misrepresenting the science – will lead to immense avoidable harm.

We believe that social and economic activity can reopen safely, if we follow policies that
are consistent with science. In fact, the countries that have reopened businesses and
schools safely are those that have implemented the science-based strategies outlined

As Stanford faculty with expertise in infectious diseases, epidemiology and health policy,
our signatures support this statement with the hope that our voices affirm scientific,
medical and public health approaches that promote the safety of our communities and

Philip A. Pizzo, MD Upi Singh, MD Bonnie Maldonado, MD

Professor of Pediatrics Professor of Medicine Professor of Pediatrics
(Infectious Diseases) and of (Infectious Disease and (Infectious Diseases) and of
Microbiology and Geographic Medicine) and of Epidemiology and
Immunology and Former Microbiology and Population Health Chief,
Dean, Stanford School of Immunology and Chief, Division of Pediatric
Medicine and Founding Division of Infectious Infectious Diseases and
Director, Stanford Diseases Senior Associate Dean for
Distinguished Careers Faculty Development and
Institute Diversity

Lucy Shapiro, PhD Melissa Bondy, PhD Michele Barry, MD

Professor of Developmental Professor and Chair of Professor of Medicine and
Biology and Director, Epidemiology and Population Senior Associate Dean for
Beckman Center for Health and Co-Director of the Global Health and Director,
Molecular and Genetic Stanford Center for Center for Innovation in
Medicine Population Health Sciences Global Health and Senior
Fellow, Woods Institute and
the Freeman Spogli Institute
for International Studies
Charles Prober, MD Julie Parsonnet, MD Steve Goodman, MD,
Professor of Pediatrics and of Professor of Medicine MHS, PhD
Microbiology and (Infectious Diseases and Professor of Epidemiology
Immunology and Senior Geographic Medicine) and of and Population Health and
Associate Vice Provost for Epidemiology and Population Associate Dean of Clinical
Health Education Health and Translational Research

David Relman, MD Lee M. Sanders, MD, MPH Steve Luby, MD

Professor of Medicine Associate Professor of Professor of Medicine
(Infectious Diseases) and of Pediatrics and of Health (Infectious Diseases)
Microbiology and Research and Policy and of Epidemiology
Immunology and Senior (Epidemiology) and Chief, and Population Health
Fellow, Freeman Spogli Division of General Pediatrics and Senior Fellow,
Institute for International Freeman Spogli
Studies Institute

Harry Greenberg, MD Ann Arvin, MD Edward S Mocarski,

Professor of Medicine and of Professor of Pediatrics Jr, PhD
Microbiology and (Infectious Diseases) and of Professor of
Immunology and Associate Microbiology and Microbiology and
Dean for Research Immunology and Former Vice Immunology,
Provost and Dean of Research Emeritus

John Boothroyd, PhD John Carette, PhD Dylan Dodd, MD,

Professor of Microbiology Associate Professor of PhD
and Immunology Microbiology and Assistant Professor of
Immunology Pathology and of
Microbiology and

Jason Andrews, MD, SM, David Studdert, LLB, MPH, Michelle Mello, JD,
Associate Professor of Professor of Law and Professor of Medicine
Medicine (Infectious Medicine, Stanford Health (Health Policy) and
Diseases) and of Policy, Stanford Law School Professor of Law
Epidemiology and Health
Joshua Salomon, PhD Manuel Ricardo Amieva, Lorene Nelson, PhD,
Professor of Medicine MD, PhD MA
(Primary Care and Outcomes Professor of Pediatrics Associate Professor of
Research) and Senior Fellow, (Infectious Diseases) and of Epidemiology and Public
Freeman Spogli Institute for Microbiology and Health and Faculty
International Studies Immunology Director of the Stanford
Center for Population
Health Sciences

Abraham Verghese MD, Aruna Subramanian, MD Dean L. Winslow, MD,

MACP, FRCP(Edin) Clinical Professor of FACP, FIDSA, FPIDS
Professor, Vice Chair for the Medicine, Chief, Professor of Medicine –
Theory and Practice of Immunocompromised Host Infectious Diseases
Medicine Infectious Diseases Division
of Infectious Diseases and
Geographic Medicine

Stephen J Galli, MD Helen M Blau, PhD Jason Wang, MD, PhD

Professor of Pathology and Professor of Microbiology and Associate Professor of
of Microbiology and Immunology and Director, Pediatrics and Medicine and
Immunology and Former Baxter Laboratory for Stem of Health Research and Policy
Chair, Department of Cell Biology and Director, Center for
Pathology Policy, Outcomes and

Ann Hsing, PhD, MPH Steve Asch, MD, MPH Esther John, PhD, MSPH
Professor of Medicine Professor of Medicine, Professor, Department of
(Stanford Prevention Primary Care and Population Epidemiology and Population
Research Center/Cancer Health Health and Co-leader,
Institute) and Epidemiology Population Sciences Program,
and Population Health Stanford Cancer Institute
Thomas C Merigan, MD David A. Stevens, M.D., Gary K. Schoolnik, MD
Professor of Medicine, F.A.C.P., F.A.A.M., Professor of Medicine -
Emeritus Former Division F.I.D.S.A. Infectious Diseases, Emeritus
Chief Director, Center for Professor of Medicine -
Aids Research, Emeritus Infectious Diseases, Emeritus
and President, California
Institute for Medical
Research, Infectious Diseases
Research Laboratory, Calif.
Inst. for Med. Res.

Jack Remington, MD Cornelia L. Dekker, MD Denise Monack, PhD

Professor of Medicine Professor of Pediatrics Professor of Microbiology
(Infectious Diseases) and (Infectious Diseases), Emerita and Immunology
Chief, Palo Alto Medical
Research Foundation

Stan Deresinski, MD, Shirit Einav, MD Robert Shafer, MD

FIDSA Associate Professor Medicine Professor of Medicine
Clinical Professor of Infectious Diseases and Division of Infectious
Medicine Infectious Diseases Geographic Medicine and of Diseases and Geographic
and Geographic Medicine Microbiology and Medicine

Holden Terry Maecker, Wah Chiu, PhD Doug K Owens, MD, MS

PhD Professor of Bioengineering Professor of Medicine and
Professor of Microbiology and of Microbiology and Senior Fellow, Freeman
and Immunology Immunology Spogli Institute for
International Studies

Cybele A. Renault, MD, Jake Scott, MD Justin Sonnenburg, PhD

DTM&H Clinical Assistant Professor of Associate Professor of
Clinical Associate Professor Medicine Infectious Diseases Microbiology and
(Infectious Diseases) and Geographic Medicine Immunology and Co-
Program Lead for Global Director, Center for Human
Health (Stanford Internal Microbiome Studies
Medicine Residency
Hector Bonilla, MD Dora Ho, MD, PhD Marisa Holubar, MD MS
Clinical Associate Professor Clinical Associate Professor Clinical Associate Professor
of Medicine Infectious of Medicine Infectious of Medicine Infectious
Diseases and Geographic Diseases and Geographic Diseases and Geographic
Medicine Medicine Medicine and Associate
Director, Stanford
Antimicrobial Safety and
Sustainability Program

Sharon Chen, MD, MS Roshni Matthew, MD Elizabeth S. Egan, MD,

Clinical Associate Professor Clinical Assistant Professor of PhD
of Pediatrics (Infectious Pediatrics (Infectious Assistant Professor of
Diseases) Diseases) and Associate Pediatrics (Infectious
Medical Director, Infection Diseases)
Prevention & Control

Jenny R. Aronson, MD Catherine Blish, MD, PhD Paul L. Bollyky, MD,

Clinical Assistant Associate Professor of D.Phil
Professor Division of Medicine Infectious Diseases Associate Professor Division
Infectious Diseases and and Geographic Medicine and of Infectious Diseases
Geographic Medicine Immunology Department of Medicine

Talal Seddick, MD Clea Sarnquist, MD Sruti Nadimpalli,

Clinical Assistant of Clinical Professor of MD
Professor of Pediatrics Pediatrics (Infectious Clinical Professor of
(Infectious Diseases) Diseases) Pediatrics (Infectious

Tim Stearns, PhD Kerwyn Casey Huang, PhD Michael Fischbach, PhD
Professor of Biology and of Professor of Bioengineering Associate Professor of
Genetics and Senior and of Microbiology and Bioengineering and of
Associate Vice Provost for Immunology Microbiology and
Research Immunology

Maya Adam, MD Samantha Johnson, MD, Philip M. Grant, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor MPH Assistant Professor of
of Pediatrics and Director of Clinical Associate Professor Medicine Infectious Diseases
Health Media Innovation of Pediatrics (Infectious and Geographic Medicine
Joanna Nelson, MD A.C. Matin, PhD Taia T. Wang, MD, PhD,
Clinical Assistant Professor Professor of Microbiology and MSCI
Department of Medicine – Immunology Assistant Professor of
Infectious Diseases Medicine and of
Microbiology and

Peter Sarnow, PhD Hayley Gans Michael Baiocchi,

Professor of Microbiology Clinical Professor, Pediatrics - PhD
and Immunology Infectious Diseases Assistant Professor,
Department of Epidemiology
and Population Health

Glenn M. Chertow, MD, Paul Graham Fisher, MD Lisa Goldman-Rosas, PhD,

Professor, Neurology and
Professor of Medicine, and Pediatrics, and by courtesy, Assistant Professor,
by courtesy Department of Neurosurgery, Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology
Epidemiology and and Population Health, and and Population Health,
Population Health Human Biology, Chief, Director, Office of
Division of Child Neurology, Community Engagement
Vice Chair, Faculty Affairs,
Department of Neurology

Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, Victor Henderson, MD Tina Hernandez-Boussard,

Professor, Department of
Professor of Pediatrics, and Epidemiology and Population Associate Professor of
by courtesy Department Health Medicine, Biomedical Data
Science, and Surgery, and
of Epidemiology and
by courtesy Department
Population Health, Director of Epidemiology and Population
of Fellows’ Scholarship, Health
Department of Pediatrics,
Director of Research,
Division of Adolescent
Abby King, PhD Allison W. Kurian, M.D., Lianne Kurina, PhD
Professor, Epidemiology Associate Professor, Primary
and Population Health, and Associate Professor of Care and Population Health,
Medicine (Stanford Medicine (Oncology) and of Bing Director of the Program
Prevention Research Center) Epidemiology and Population in Human Biology
Director, Healthy Aging Health Associate Chief for
Research & Technology Academic Affairs, Division of
Solutions (HARTS) Oncology
Laboratory Director, Women’s Clinical
Faculty Director, Our Voice Cancer Genetics Program, Co-
Global Citizen Science leader, Population Sciences
Initiative Program, Stanford Cancer
Past President, Society of Institute
Behavioral Medicine

Mitchell R. Lunn, MD, Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD Lorene Nelson, PhD, MS
Professor of Pediatric Food Associate Professor,
Assistant Professor of Allergy, Immunology and Department of Epidemiology
Medicine, and by courtesy, Asthma, Professor of and Population Health Faculty
Department of Epidemiology Pediatrics and Professor by Director of Research,
and Population Health Courtesy of Otolaryngology Stanford Center for
Head & Neck Surgery at Population Health Sciences
LPCH and Department of
Epidemiology and Population

Mindie H. Nguyen, MD, Michelle C. Odden, PhD Juno Obedin-Maliver, MD,

Associate Professor,
Professor, Department of Department of Epidemiology Assistant Professor,
Medicine, and by courtesy and Population Health Department of Obstetrics and
Department of Epidemiology Gynecology and, by courtesy,
and Population Health Department of Epidemiology
and Population Health
Latha Palaniappan, MD, Lesley S. Park, PhD, MPH Rita A. Popat, PhD
Instructor, Department of Clinical Associate Professor,
Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Population Department of Epidemiology
Department of Medicine Health, Associate Director, and Population Health
(Primary Care and Stanford Center for
Population Health) and, by Population Health Sciences
courtesy, Department of
Epidemiology and
Population Health

David H Rehkopf, ScD, Thomas N. Robinson, MD, Kristin Sainani, PhD

Associate Professor,
Associate Professor, Professor of Pediatrics and of Department of Epidemiology
Departments of Medicine and, by courtesy, and Population Health
Epidemiology and Department of Epidemiology
Population Health, and Population Health
Department of Medicine,
(Primary Care and
Population Health), Co-
director, Stanford Center for
Population Health Sciences

Gary M. Shaw, DrPH Julia F Simard, ScD Marcia L. Stefanick, PhD

Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Professor, Professor of Medicine

Associate Chair Dept of Department of Epidemiology (Stanford Prevention
Pediatrics, Department of & Population Health Research Center), Professor
Pediatrics and, by courtesy, of Obstetrics & Gynecology,
Department of Epidemiology and by courtesy Professor of
and Population Health Epidemiology and Population
Health, Director, Stanford
Women’s Health and Sex
Differences in Medicine
(WHSDM) Center
Holly Tabor, PhD Alice S. Whittemore, Ph.D. A. Desiree LaBeaud, MD,
Associate Professor, Professor (Emerita) of
Department of Medicine and Epidemiology and Professor of Pediatrics
by courtesy, Department of Biostatistics, (Infectious Diseases)
Epidemiology and Departments of Epidemiology and Epidemiology,
Population Health) and and Population Health, and Population Health
Associate Director, Stanford and of Biomedical Data
Center for Biomedical Ethics Science

Robert Siegel Sara Singer, MBA PhD David Schneider, PhD

Professor (Teaching) of Professor of Medicine Professor of Microbiology

Microbiology and (Primary Care and Population and Immunology
Immunology Health), and by courtesy
Graduate School of Business

Matthew Bogyo, PhD Lucy S Tompkins, MD PhD Ami S. Bhatt, MD, PhD

Professor of Pathology, and Professor of Medicine Assistant Professor of

of Microbiology and (Infectious Diseases and Medicine (Hematology;
Immunology Geographic Medicine), Blood & Marrow
Professor of Microbiology and Transplantation) and of
Immunology, Genetics
Hospital Epidemiologist and
Medical Director,
Dept Infection Prevention and
Control Stanford Hospital and

Anne Liu, MD David Katzenstein, MD

Clinical Associate Professor, Professor of Medicine

Division of Infectious (emeritus)
Diseases, Division of
Rheumatology, Department
of Pediatrics