On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci and several others from President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force testified in front of the United States Senate in a hearing called “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School.” During the hearing, which some attended via video conference due to quarantining after exposure to the virus, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky had an exchange with Fauci, in which Paul appeared to accuse the doctor of thinking he’s the “end-all.” The doctor quickly cleared that up for the senator and those who were watching.
During the hearing, Paul said that experts have consistently made incorrect predictions throughout the coronavirus pandemic. He further argued that the power to hold school or not next year shouldn’t be a national one-size-fits-all plan, but instead reside with each school district.
“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 I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all… We can listen to your advice, but there are people on the other side saying there’s not going to be a surge.”
Paul went on to discuss his concern that if children don’t go back to school in the fall, those who are at a disadvantage who don’t have a parent that can teach them at home will end up missing out on a full year of learning. He noted that everybody involved needed to be humble about what isn’t known in the situation.
“I have never made myself out to be the end-all and only voice of this. I’m a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence,” Fauci said.
Sen. Paul argues school decisions should be made district by district, tells Dr. Fauci: “I don't think you're the end all.”
Fauci: "I'm a scientist… I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects." pic.twitter.com/dIjXwkM5AU
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 12, 2020
The doctor noted that he does not advise about anything other than public health since he’s not an expert on the other things that Paul mentioned. Fauci also countered the senator’s words about being humble, noting that officials don’t know everything about the virus. He cautioned that those in charge must be careful, especially regarding choices made for children.
Fauci pointed out that there are cases of children who have had COVID-19 and a strange inflammatory disorder that is similar to Kawasaki syndrome. ABC New York recently reported that possibly as many as five children have died and 93 became ill with the syndrome in New York while also having the coronavirus.
“I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects,” Fauci warned.
Ultimately, Fauci said that he’s humble enough to realize he does not know everything about the novel coronavirus, which is why he is careful about making broad predictions about it. He agreed that children typically fare better than the elderly and those with other underlying conditions, but that the unknowns are worrisome when it comes to young people.