Dr. Fauci Schools Rand Paul in Heated Clash Over Coronavirus Lockdown Response: ‘You Are Not Listening’
Things got relatively heated between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul during a Wednesday Senate hearing on the ongoing U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The junior senator from Kentucky, who is himself a medical doctor, opened his question in a remarkably aggressive manner noting that, initially, “government officials were honest enough to admit that the goal of mitigation efforts, aka, “lockdown,” was to flatten the curve.” He then claimed that “flattening the curve” has since “morphed into a belief that we could change the course of the pandemic with an economic lockdown” blaming media and government officials.”
He then cited New York and New Jersey as the highest spikes of infections in the nation, compared to Sweden, which eschewed a lockdown. He rhetorically asked if “man is really able to control the course of a virus through crowd control” before noting to Dr. Fauci, “today you said you are not for economic lockdown, yet your mitigation recommendations from dating to baseball to restaurants to movie theaters have led to this economic lockdown.”
“Our death rate is essentially worse than Sweden, equivalent to the less-developed world that is unable to do any of the things that you’ve been promoting,” he pointedly noted, before eventually arriving at the question, asking “Do you have any second thoughts? Are you willing to look at the data that countries that did very little actually have a lower death rate than the United States?”
“Senator, I’d be happy at a different time to sit down and go over detail,” Fauci replied. “You’ve said a lot of different things. You’ve compared us to Sweden and there are a lot of differences and you said, well, you know there are a lot of differences between Sweden, but compare Sweden’s death rate to other comparable Scandinavian countries, it’s worse. So I don’t think it’s appropriate to compare Sweden to us.”
“I don’t regret saying that the only way we could have really stopped the explosion of infection was by essentially — I want to say shutting down– I mean essentially having the physical separation and the kinds of recommendations that we’ve made,” Fauci added.
“You’ve been a big fan of Cuomo and the shutdown in New York,” Senator Paul pushed back. “You’ve lauded New York for their policy. New York has had the highest death rate in the world. How can be jumping up and down saying Cuomo did a great job?”
“You’ve misconstrued that, senator, and you’ve done that repetitively in the past,” Fauci said, getting somewhat frustrated. “They got hit very badly and they made some mistakes. Right now, if you look at what’s going on right now, the things that are going on in New York, to get their test positivity 1% or less, is because they are looking at the guidelines that we have put together from the task force of the four or five things of masks, social distancing, outdoors more than indoors, avoiding crowds and washing hands…”
Paul interrupted “Or they’ve developed enough community immunity that they’re no longer having the pandemic because they have enough immunity in New York City to actually stop.”
“I challenge that, senator,” Fauci replied, before being interrupted by Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander.
But nonetheless, Fauci persisted, saying “Please, sir, I would like to be able to do this because this happens with Senator Rand all the time.” He then turned to Senator Paul and said “You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said that in New York it’s about 22%. If you believe 22% is herd immunity I believe you’re alone in that.”
Watch above via CNN.
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