Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky brought some passionate truth to a Senate coronavirus hearing on Tuesday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified at the hearing of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
During a May hearing, Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander had asked Fauci, “What would you say to the chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, or the principal of a public school about how to persuade parents and students to return to school in August?” according to Best Life.
“I would tell her that, in this case, the idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the re-entry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far,” Fauci had replied.
Paul was having none of that logic.
“It is a fatal conceit to believe any one person or small group of people has the knowledge necessary to direct an economy or dictate public health behavior,” he told Fauci. “I think government health experts during this pandemic need to show caution in their prognostications.”
“It’s important to realize that if society meekly submits to an expert and that expert is wrong, a great deal of harm may occur when we allow one man’s policy or one group of small men and women to be foisted on an entire nation,” Paul added.
Paul fought back on keeping children from school or forcing them to adhere to harmful restrictions.
“For a time, there may not have been enough information about coronavirus and children, but now there is,” he said.
Citing data from school reopenings in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands, Paul showed that these countries saw no spike when schools opened. Paul noted that “22 countries have reopened their schools and have seen no discernible increase in cases.”
“Ultimately, this all comes down to the fatal conceit that central planners have enough knowledge somehow to tell a nation of 330 million people what they can and can’t do.”
He noted America was not founded on “a couple of people in Washington telling us what to do and we, like sheep, all blindly follow.”
“This all begs the question: When are we going to tell the people the truth? That it’s OK to take their kids back to school,” he said.
This is not the first hearing where Paul has held Fauci’s feet to the fire. In a May hearing, he pushed back on what he called the “one-size-fits-all” approach to reopening.
In an interview on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto” later Tuesday afternoon, Paul pointed out that Fauci seemed to be in agreement with him by the end of the hearing.
“But, my point is this: The scientific evidence is overwhelming that kids rarely get the disease, kids rarely die from the disease, and actually – even more – they rarely transmit the disease,” Paul told Cavuto.
The senator himself recovered from coronavirus in the spring. He also volunteered at a hospital to help patients with the disease.
I appreciate all the best wishes I have received. I have been retested and I am negative. I have started volunteering at a local hospital to assist those in my community who are in need of medical help, including Coronavirus patients. Together we will overcome this! pic.twitter.com/9SeypT7rL6
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 7, 2020
In an Op-Ed in The Hill the same day as the hearing, Paul reiterated much of his testimony, pointing out that “[c]ontact tracing studies in China, Iceland, Britain, and the Netherlands failed to find a single case of child-to-adult infection.”
Paul, an ophthalmologist, holds a position in line with a statement the American Academy of Pediatrics that advises that students be “physically present in school” as much as possible.
They are doing this despite evidence — as Paul pointed out — that children are not transmitters and do not suffer the harmful effects of more vulnerable populations.
Paul, with his medical training and personal experience in a hospital dealing with the disease, brought fire to Tuesday’s hearings. One wonders if Fauci was rightly swayed by his arguments.
Even if he isn’t, American states should not merely submit to one man and instead should trust common sense on the virus and children.
Rand Paul is sticking up for the essential American principles of individual liberty and responsibility.
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