Top health expert Anthony Fauci rebuked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a hearing on Wednesday over his suggestion that New York's COVID-19 infection rate is low because the population there has reached herd immunity.
The big picture: Paul, a libertarian who has criticized government lockdown measures as "authoritarian," has clashed with Fauci in previous hearings. Paul accused Fauci of being a "big fan" of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his lockdown restrictions, while Fauci said the Kentucky senator has repeatedly "misconstrued" his comments.
PAUL: "How can we possibly jump up and down and saying, 'Oh Gov. Cuomo did a great job.' He had the worst death rate in the world."
FAUCI: "No, you've misconstrued that senator and you've done that repetitively in the past. They got hit very badly. They made some mistakes. Right now, if you look at what's going on right now, the things 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: "Or that have developed enough community immunity that they're no longer having the pandemic because they have enough immunity in New York City to actually stop -- "
FAUCI: "I challenge that, senator. Please sir, I would like to be able to do this, because this happens with Sen. Rand all the time. You're not listening to what the director of the CDC said. In New York, it's about 22%. If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you're alone in that."