Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.) argued Tuesday that the decision to re-open the economy and schools from the coronavirus shutdown should not be a "one-size-fits-all" approach, telling the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, "I don't think you're the end-all."
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During a hearing for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on "safely getting back to work and school," Dr. Fauci warned against states and cities reopening before being assured that they have the ability to manage a surge in COVID-19 cases.
CNN reported that Fauci also testified that "it was a 'bridge too far' for schools to expect a vaccine or widely available treatment for COVID-19 by the time students return to campuses in the fall, though he expressed optimism a vaccine would be developed in the next year or two."
Sen. Paul, a physician, suggested experts analyze the outcomes in Sweden, a country that has not closed its schools, and argued that "there's been more people wrong with modeling that right" when it comes to the pandemic.
The Kentucky Republican then said, "Outside of New England, we've had a relatively benign course for this virus nationwide, and I think the 'one-size-fits-all' that we're going to have a national strategy and 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 disbursed, because people make wrong predictions."
Paul continued, "I think 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 side saying there's not going to be a surge and that we can safely open the economy and the facts will bear this out."
He added, "If we keep kids out of school for another year, what's going to happen is the poor and unprivileged kids who don't have a parent that's able to teach them at home are not going to learn for a full year."
Dr. Fauci responded by thanking Sen. Paul before saying, "I have never made myself out to be the end-all and only voice in this. I am a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence."
Fauci admitted, "We don't know everything about this virus," before warning, "We'd really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children, because the more and more we learn, we're seeing things that this virus can do that we didn't see from the studies in China or in Europe," pointing to an inflammatory syndrome that some officials have linked to the coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci told Sen. Paul, "You're right in the numbers that children, in general, do 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."
Exchange between Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci www.youtube.com