The divide in American politics over what to do about the coronavirus pandemic came into focus on Tuesday when Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, gave another of his dire warning about the spread of the virus.
“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I am very concerned,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing on the pandemic on Tuesday.
Fauci expressed dismay over people congregating in crowds and not wearing masks and inadequate attention being paid to guidelines on reopening.
“We’re going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there’s going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop,” he said.
Senator Rand Paul, who was infected with the coronavirus last March and recovered, let Fauci have it with both barrels.
“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,” the Republican and libertarian from Kentucky said during the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. “We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best for everyone.”
“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,” Paul said. And that’s the crux of the matter.
The “experts” don’t know any more about how this disease really works than anyone else. We are all learning as we go along. It should be obvious even to a muddle-headed liberal that pandemic “plans” went out the window months ago. We are in uncharted territory and feeling our way forward.
Right now, individual states are reacting to outbreaks in their own way. If Joe Biden had been president, we would have a “national” policy which would be useless in this situation. Governors and local leaders are doing what has to be done. They don’t need Dr. Fauci in Washington looking over their shoulder.
Sen. Paul emerged as a primary voice in the Senate in calling for all schools to reopen in the fall. And he had some choice words for Fauci about how how the United States works.
“Take for example government experts who continue to call for schools and day care to stay closed or that recommend restrictions that make it impossible for a school to function. There are examples from all across the United States and around the world that show that young children rarely spread the virus,” he asserted, pointing to countries that have reopened, including Denmark, France and Germany.
“No spike when schools are opened. Central planners have enough knowledge somehow to tell a nation of some 330 million people what they can and can’t do,” he said.
Please hold your applause until the end.
“We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best for everyone. Only decentralized power and decision-making based on millions of individualized situations can arrive at what risk and behaviors each individual will choose. That’s what America was founded on, not a herd with Washington telling us what to do and like sheep we blindly follow.”
Later, on the Fox News show “Your World With Neil Cavuto,” Paul continued to make the case to get the kids back in school.
“But, we need to send them to school. And, frankly, many of the schools in Europe are going back without masks, many of them are going out with modified…social distancing, and kids are not causing a spike,” he argued, noting that he had presented charts of eight countries that exhibited “no spike” when they reopened their schools — including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
In an op-ed in The Hill published the same day, Paul also highlighted that contact tracing studies in China, Iceland, Britain and the Netherlands failed to find a single case of child-to-adult infection.
Next, he cited Brown University data on day cares that had remained open during the pandemic. Out of over 25,000 kids in their study, the Ivy League school found that 0.16 percent of children in these day cares had confirmed cases, and barely more than 1 percent of the staff — out of a group of more than 9,000.
Fauci is not a “snake-oil salesman.” He’s a scientist doing what scientists do; he gives the best guess he can based on available evidence for the trend of the disease.
It’s not good enough. Worse, it has needlessly alarmed people. Ask Fauci how many of those 100,000 new positive tests every day will be asymptomatic. How many people won’t ever get sick? Will those asymptomatic people spread the disease?
He doesn’t know. And making public policy is so much harder when “experts” are warning against phantoms and ghosts.