Dr. Anthony Fauci took Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky down a peg during a tense exchange at Wednesday’s coronavirus response hearing on Capitol Hill.
The COVID-19 death toll in the United States — now more than 200,000 as the nation continues to lead the world in both cases and fatalities — would be the same if no shutdown measures were ever enforced by state leaders, Paul said.
He also added that New York has had a low infection rate since its peak because New York City reached herd immunity, which occurs when enough of a population is immune to a disease that its transmission wanes.
“How can we possibly be jumping up and down and saying, ‘Oh, Gov. Cuomo did a great job.’ He had the worst death rate in the world,” Paul said.
Fauci noted that while New York “got hit very badly” and “made some mistakes,” the Empire State subsequently implemented mandatory mask wearing and other measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which have been met with high compliance among the public.
In addition, Fauci said the state’s test rate has dropped to below 1% because officials took steps to regulate social distancing and move gatherings outdoors.
Paul countered again with his claim of “community immunity,” adding that “they’re no longer having the pandemic because they have enough immunity in New York City.”
Fauci disagreed, saying, “You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said, that in New York, it’s about 22% [of people infected with the virus]. If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that.”
News – ‘You are not listening’: Fauci tells Rand Paul that he is ‘alone’ in vouching for herd immunity over coronavirus lockdowns