According to multiple officials familiar with the matter, Atlas has recently pushed White House officials to find ways to prevent states from introducing what he sees as needless and restrictive stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines and mask mandates. Officials said Atlas views any action that limits gatherings, including holiday celebrations, as a reversal of the reopening playbook he helped install this summer—a strategy that many prominent health experts point to as one of the reasons the U.S. is in its current predicament.

“He’s a destructive force,” one senior official said, adding that Atlas’ recent messaging is getting in the way of efforts to save lives as the country waits for a vaccine to become available to the general public. “I mean, at this point, I don’t know how else to explain what he’s doing. It’s really disruptive.”…

Officials who spoke to The Daily Beast for this story say they are concerned about the degree to which Atlas still maintains influence over President Donald Trump’s thinking about COVID-19. Especially as his public utterances have grown more sharply political.