Sen. Rand Paul tossed launched firm criticism at Dr. Anthony Fauci over his extreme hesitance to reopen the nation after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have passed, reminding the White House task force member that he is not the “end-all” of epidemiologists.
At a meeting of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Paul, (R-KY) countered Fauci’s continual rhetoric that picking up the pace of reopening efforts wil bring “needless suffering and death.”
Paul, a doctor and a recent coronavirus survivor with a preexisting condition, called it “ridiculous” to have a national reopening strategy that does not include sending kids back to school in the fall.
Paul pointed to the near-zero COVID-19 mortality rate of children, as well as the promising results of Sweden’s decision to keep schools for students 16 and under open during the pandemic.
“If we keep kids out of school for another year, what’s going to happen is the poor and underprivileged kids who don’t have a parent that’s able to teach them at home are not going to learn for a full year,” Paul said.
“We never really reached any sort of pandemic levels in Kentucky and other states,” Paul went on. “We have fewer deaths in Kentucky than an average flu season.”
Paul argued that state governments and localities should be empowered to determine their reopening course rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach at the national level, especially in light of the revelation that actual morbidity and mortality rates fell drastically below what early models predicted.
“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. We really ought to be doing it school district by school district, and the power needs to be dispersed because people make wrong predictions,” Paul said.
We ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy. 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.
Although committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander asked Fauci to clarify whether or not he suggested schools should remain closed, he responded only to Paul’s criticism.
“I never made myself out to be the end-all and only voice in this,” Fauci said. “I’m a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence.”
Watch the exchange below, or the full C-SPAN recording here.
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