May 12, 2020 - Health

Rand Paul to Fauci: "I don’t think you’re the end-all" for coronavirus decisions

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing that he doesn't believe Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert, is the "end-all" for coronavirus decisions, arguing that there are "people on the other side" who say there will not be a surge if the U.S. reopens its economy.

What they're saying: "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 who gets to make a decision. We can listen to your advice, but there are people on the other side saying there is not going to be a surge and that we can safely open the economy, and the facts will bear this out."

  • Paul argued that the coronavirus pandemic hasn't impacted rural states as severely as it has hit more densely populated states in the Northeast and that the country should not move forward with a "one size fits all" plan to reopen schools and the country.

The other side: "I have never made myself out to be the end-all and only voice in this," Fauci responded. "I'm a scientist, a physician and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence."

  • "There are a number of other people who come into that and give advice that are more related to the things that you spoke about, the need to get the country back open again and economically. I don’t give advice about economic things. I don’t give advice about anything other than public health."

Fauci also addressed Paul's claims that the coronavirus mortality rate for children is extremely low and that it would be a "huge mistake" not to reopen schools in the fall:

"[Y]ou used the word we should be 'humble' about what we don't know. I think that falls under the fact that we don't know everything about this virus and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children. Because more and more we learn, we're seeing things about what this virus can do that we didn't see from the studies in China or in Europe. For example, right now children presenting with COVID-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome very similar to Kawasaki syndrome. I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects."

Worth noting: Paul was the first U.S. senator to test positive for the coronavirus back in March. He was asymptomatic.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

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