Doctor Anthony Fauci unloaded on Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) during a hearing before the Senate Health Committee Wednesday morning, assailing Paul for “repetitively” lying about the United States’ catastrophic mismanagement of COVID-19.
Watch below. A full transcript and fact check of the exchange is available after the video:
"You misconstrued that, Senator. And you've done that repetitively in the past." — Fauci is out of patience with Rand Paul pic.twitter.com/6xRoO19ZYL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 23, 2020
First, Paul made the ridiculous assertion that taking steps to slow the spread of the virus are unrealistic.
“Is man really capable of altering the course of an infectious disease through crowd control?” Paul asked. “The statistics are a resounding no. The evidence argues that mitigation efforts have failed to flatten the curve, that most countries regardless of health policies suffered a significant spike in deaths, and then a gradual decline.”
The United States, with 200,000 deaths and climbing, has the highest fatality rate in the world, as well as the most cases.
“Now some will argue, well, what about Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, each which have had extraordinarily low death rates – Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea certainly enforced stricter quaratine and contact tracing rules than the US, but Japan’s rules were largely voluntary, since their prime minister lacks the legal powers to enforce a lockdown.”
The nations Paul mentioned are nowhere close to the top of the list. Japan, for example, has the 45th-highest case tally and has reported 1,508 deaths. South Korea is faring even better than that, taking the number 78 spot. Hong Kong and Taiwan have the 119th and 174th highest case totals, respectively.
Paul claimed, in a complete misrepresentation of the data, that “one explanation for the low death rate” in Asian countries is that “the population may have a higher degree of exposure to coronavirus colds, and therefore have more pre-existing cross-reactive immunity.”
Next, Paul delivered a platter of misinformation, particularly about possible immunity to COVID-19, which researchers have cautioned is possible, but far from certain:
If scientsts were interested, there is a fascinating field of inquiry looking at succeptibility to COVID-19 and assessment of whether people or not have pre-existing immunity to similar coronaviruses. In fact, pre-existing coronavirus cross-reactive immunity to coronavirus may explain why we have some people that have very little symptoms or asymptomatic. While there are still many things we need to learn about this pandemic, it’s important that we the people not simply acquiesce to authoritarian mandates on our behavior without first making the nanny state prove their hypothesis.
According to a study published in August in JAMA Internal Medicine, asymptomatic people can still spread the virus just as easily as those who are sick, and symptoms can be non-specific:
The researchers found that asymptomatic patients carried the virus nearly as long as symptomatic patients. Almost 34% of the asymptomatic patients tested negative for the novel coronavirus after 14 days, and that percentage grew to 75% after 21 days. In comparison, 29.6% of the symptomatic patients tested negative after 14 days, and just under 70% tested negative after 21 days.
Paul suggested the high death rates in the early days of the pandemic, specifically in blue states along the I-95 corridor, are proof that masks and social distancing are ineffective and that poor leadership was the real problem.
“As for now, what we do know is that New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and Rhode Island still allowed the highest death rates in the world,” the Senator said, completely avoiding today’s reality.
Cases and deaths are accelerating in states like Arizona, Utah, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota, Healthline wrote in an analysis earlier this week.
Texas, California, and Florida, meanwhile, have all surpassed the death counts in the Northeast, and their numbers are still climbing.
Paul’s attempt to politicize Fauci’s consistent warnings about the virility of COVID-19 went very badly.
“I know you’re a fan of Cuomo and the shutdown in New York, you’ve lauded New York for their policy. New York had the highest death rate in the world,” Paul charged. “How can we possibly be jumping up and down and saying, ‘oh, Governor Cuomo did such a great job,’ he had the highest death rate in the world.”
Fauci shut him down.
“No, you’ve misconstrued that, Senator, and you’ve done that repetitively in the past,” Fauci said. “They got hit very badly, 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 one percent 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.”
New York flattened the curve months ago and has kept it that way.
But Paul interjected with his own bogus theory:
Or they 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 it.
There is no scientific basis to support Paul’s claim.
“I challenge that, Senator,” Fauci added after asking to go into overtime, “because this happens with Senator Rand all the time.”
Fauci has had enough of Paul’s baffoonery.
“You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said, that in New York [the infection rate] is about 22 percent. If you believe 22 percent is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that,” Fauci replied.
The World Health Organization has stated that 60 to 70 percent of the population would have to be exposed for herd immunity to generate widespread immunity. But even with a one percent death rate, the WHO cautioned, the consequences would be enormous.
“This can add up to a huge number of people if we look at the global population,” WHO Chief Scientist Doctor Soumya Swaminathan explained in August, “and that is why we believe it’s not a good idea to try to achieve herd immnunity by letting the infection run wild in the population and infect a lot of people.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.