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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.

Go deeper: Doctors face new urgency to solve children and coronavirus puzzle

Go deeper

Gov. Phil Murphy: It's too soon to call New Jersey a "COVID success story"

Axios' Mike Allen and Gov. Phil Murphy.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J) cautioned against calling his state a "COVID success story," during an Axios virtual event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: New Jersey, once a hot spot for the novel coronavirus, is requiring quarantines for some travelers entering the state. The number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and fatalities have declined drastically since June.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Aug 20, 2020 - Health

Schools soldier through coronavirus outbreaks

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Only a few weeks into the school year, hundreds of students, teachers and staff across the country have been diagnosed with the coronavirus or sent home to quarantine after being exposed.

Why it matters: For now, most of the affected schools are opting to play coronavirus whack-a-mole, providing a complicated alternative to in-person and virtual learning.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."