Fauci scolds Rand Paul during tense exchange at hearing

Source: The Hill | September 23, 2020 | Nathaniel Weixel

A seemingly irritated Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, scolded Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a congressional hearing on Wednesday after the senator claimed that COVID-19 cases might not be rising in New York because of herd immunity.

Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases doctor, told Paul he was wrong to make the suggestion, and he said Paul had also been wrong in other public comments about the concept of herd immunity. 

“No, you’ve misconstrued that, senator, and you’ve done that repeatedly in the past,” Fauci said. 

Fauci also appeared to single out Paul for criticism over comments about the coronavirus, which as of this week has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States.

“If you believe 22 percent is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that,” Fauci told Paul during the hearing, referring to the number of New Yorkers thought to have had COVID-19. 

The exchange took place during a Senate Health Committee hearing where Fauci and others are testifying about the pandemic.

Paul, who has frequently criticized lockdowns aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus while questioning their effectiveness, asked Fauci if he had second thoughts over his support for such measures given statistics in other countries. 

He claimed mitigation measures like closing movie theaters, bars and limiting restaurant capacity had no impact, because the New York tri-state area had the highest coronavirus death rate in the country. 

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