Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) unloaded on Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Tuesday hearing, accusing him of using his position to assist in the public smearing of epidemiologists with whom he disagreed.
Paul, citing an email exchange initially authored by former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, said that Fauci had agreed with Collins and either allowed or assisted in the “takedown” of epidemiologists from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford — whose ideas Collins suggested should be painted as “fringe.”
Sen. @RandPaul vs. Fauci, Round 8. Sen. Paul drills into Fauci over his emails showing a coordinated campaign to “takedown” the Great Barrington Declaration.
Paul: “Do you really think it’s appropriate to use your $420,000 salary to attack science that doesn’t agree with you? pic.twitter.com/LNuql7nSb7
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 11, 2022
“Dr. Fauci, the idea that a government official like yourself would claim unilaterally to represent science and that any criticism of you would be considered a criticism of science itself is quite dangerous,” Paul said, going on to accuse Fauci of effectively “ruling by mandate” as his word, in many cases, was quickly adopted as federal policy.
“In an email exchange with Dr. Collins, you conspire, and I quote here directly from the email, to ‘create a quick and devastating published takedown’ of three prominent epidemiologists from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford,” Paul continued.
Fauci objected, saying that the email had been written by Collins — at which point Paul argued that Fauci could have responded differently instead of allowing the requested “takedown” to proceed.
“A published takedown, though, you know doesn’t exactly conjure up the image of a dispassionate scientist,” Paul added. “Instead of engaging them on the merits, you and Dr. Collins sought to smear them as ‘fringe’ and take them down — and not in journals, in lay press. This is not only antithetical to the scientific method, it’s the epitome of cheap politics, and it’s reprehensible, Dr. Fauci.”
The Great Barrington Declaration — the statement prompting Collins’ call for a quick and complete “takedown” — advocated a more targeted approach to COVID-19 and warned of the dangers of blanket policies such as full lockdowns and sweeping mandates.
The GBD reads, in part:
Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.
Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.
As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.