Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, scolded Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) during his Senate testimony Wednesday after Paul repeatedly pressed him about COVID-19 cases in New York state.

The exchange erupted during Wednesday’s Senate hearing about America’s coronavirus response. It started when Paul accused Fauci of contributing to an economic crisis with his virus mitigation recommendations.

 

Paul said that his efforts to “flatten the curve” were useless, while pointing out that they set the stage for the worst economic crises since the Great Depression.

“The same amount of people would probably die with or without the lockdown. The media, and frankly, government officials seem to have forgotten this important caveat. Flattening the curve morphed into a belief that we could change the pandemic’s course with an economic lockdown. This is unfortunate and has led to the protracted lockdown recession we are currently mired in,” said Paul.

The Kentucky senator attacked Fauci as he showcased Sweden, which did not lockdown its economy throughout the pandemic, and saw much lower death levels than America the U.S.

“To those that argue that the lockdown flattened the curve in New York, in New Jersey, the evidence argues otherwise,” Paul said. “New York had the highest death rate in the world, how can we possibly be jumping up and down and saying, ‘Oh, Governor Cuomo did a great job.'”

Fauci said that Paul had “misconstrued” significant elementary coronavirus facts.

“You know, senator. I’d be happy, at a different time, to sit down and go over detail, you said a lot of different things. You’ve compared us to Sweden. And there are a lot of differences. But compare Sweden’s death rate to other comparable Scandinavian country’s. It’s worse,” Fauci said.

“Hopefully, and I am, and my colleagues are humble enough and modest enough to realize that as new data comes, you make different recommendations. But I don’t regret saying that the only way we could’ve really stopped the explosion of the infection was by essentially shutting down, essentially having the physical separation, and the kinds of recommendations that you made,” Fauci said.

Paul shot back,Or they’ve developed enough community immunity that they’re no longer having the pandemic because they have enough immunity in New York City to actually stop it.”

“No, you’ve misconstrued that senator, and you’ve done that repetitively in the past. They got hit very badly. They made some mistakes,” Fauci said. “I challenge that, senator. Please, sir, I would like to be able to do this, because this happens with Sen. Paul all the time. You’re not listening to what the director of the CDC said. In New York, it’s about 22%. If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that.”