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Fauci Clashes With Rand Paul at Senate Hearing

'If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2020 6:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – The nation's top infectious diseases expert clashed with the Senate's top ophthalmologist in a testy congressional hearing Wednesday. The Hill reports that an irritated Dr. Anthony Fauci "scolded" Sen. Rand Paul after the Kentucky senator slammed the "nanny state" and argued that New York's high coronavirus death toll shows that lockdowns and other measures are ineffective—and that "herd immunity" could explain why coronavirus cases aren't rising in the state. "No, you've misconstrued that, senator, and you've done that repeatedly in the past," Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Paul at the Senate Health Committee hearing.

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Fauci said that while New York was "hit very badly" early on and Gov. Andrew Cuomo made some mistakes, "if you look at what’s going on right now, the things that are going on in New York to get their test-positivity 1% or less is because they are looking at the guidelines that we have put together from the task force of the four or five things: of masks, social distancing, outdoors more than indoors, avoiding crowds, and washing hands." Fauci also rejected Paul's claim that herd immunity could have been achieved in the state, the Washington Post reports. He said that the CDC estimates around 22% of people in the state have had the virus. Experts believe 70% or greater is needed for herd immunity. "If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that,” Fauci said. (Read more Anthony Fauci stories.)

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