Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is suggesting that health experts’ advice should be taken “with a grain of salt.”
During a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, the senator got into a heated exchange with Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Paul said to Fauci regarding top health experts’ predictions amid conversation on sending children back to school and reopening the economy, “I think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy.”
The senator was arguing that he believes the reopening should be done school district by school district.
“And as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all,” Paul added. “I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make a decision.”
Fauci responded, “I’ve never made myself out to be the end-all and only voice in this. I’m a scientist, a physician and a public health official. I give advice, according to the best scientific evidence. … I don’t give advice about economic things.”
Fauci later added, “We don’t know everything about this virus, and we’ve really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children.”
“I think we better be careful, if we are not cavalier, in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects. You’re right in the numbers that children in general do much, much better than adults and the elderly and particularly those with underlying conditions. But I am very careful, and hopefully humble in knowing that I don’t know everything about this disease. And that’s why I’m very reserved in making broad predictions.”
Watch the exchange below:
“I give advice according to the best scientific evidence”: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul argued Tuesday during a Senate hearing over the impact of the coronavirus on children and the decision to reopen schools while Fauci testified to the Senate https://t.co/CrtBnaGkxK pic.twitter.com/05VNNTa66x— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 12, 2020
Speaking on the exchange with Fauci during a Fox News interview later Tuesday, Paul was asked if people are leaning “too much” on Fauci’s expertise.
“I think he’s a good person. I think he wants what’s best for the country, but he’s an extremely cautious person,” Paul responded. “I don’t think any of these experts are omniscient. I think that they have a basis of knowledge.”
He continued to say when it is advocated for things like closing all the schools, all the information should be taken into account.
The senator noted Fauci is aware of the mortality among children amid the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the rate is “very, very low” for children.
“We really need to have competition among the health experts,” Paul said, adding, “We have to take with a grain of salt these experts and their prognostications.”
“The future is very uncertain, but … closing the entire economy has been devastating. That’s the fact.”
See Paul’s comments below:
Fauci was among other top U.S. health officials testifying before a Senate health committee, including U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir. They all testified via teleconference.
During the hearing, Fauci suggested it would be “a bit of a bridge too far” regarding the idea of having a vaccine or treatment “to facilitate the reentry of students into the fall term,” as IJR reported.
He also said during the hearing, on the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., “If you think that we have it completely under control, we don’t.”
“I think we’re going in the right direction but the right direction does not mean we have by any means total control of this outbreak,” he later added.