Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), an ophthalmologist who recently recovered from COVID-19, sparred with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, over his suggestion that the lockdowns should continue and that schools should be closed through the fall semester.
During his testimony before a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday, Fauci covered a range of topics, stressing that COVID-19 could see a resurgence as states and cities reopen their economies, which have been crippled as a result of the shutdowns he advocated for.
“I think that … we’re going to have a national one-size-fits-all approach — nobody’s going to go to school, is kind of ridiculous,” Paul told Fauci. “We really ought to be doing it school district by school district, and the power needs to be dispersed because people make wrong predictions.”
Senator Paul noted that the mortality rates have varied by region and criticized the experts for crafting policies based on faulty scientific models that have been largely disproven, some as recently as this week.
“We ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy,” said Paul. “And, as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all. I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make the decision. We can listen to your advice, but there are people on the other sides saying that there’s not going to be a surge, and we can safely open the economy and the facts will bear this out.”
Fauci pushed back on Paul’s comments by clarifying that he is just a public health official and a scientist who simply gives his opinion based on the available evidence.
“Sen. Paul, thank you for your comments, I have never made myself out to be the end-all and only voice of this,” Fauci said. “I’m a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence.”
Fauci then pointed out that some cases with children show that COVID-19 could be associated with an inflammatory syndrome similar to Kawasaki disease, stressing that people should be “careful” regarding the virus.
“We don’t know everything about this virus and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes from children,” Fauci said. “For example, right now children presenting with COVID-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome.”
Sen. Rand Paul: "I don't think you're the end all. I don't think you're the one person that gets to make a decision."
Dr. Anthony Fauci: "I have never made myself out to be the end all and only voice in this. I'm a scientist, a physician and a public health official." pic.twitter.com/Nqlg3zOqn3
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 12, 2020
Prior to his testimony on Tuesday, Fauci warned that there will be “needless suffering and death” if we open the country too quickly.
“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country,” Fauci said in an email to The New York Times. “This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”
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