Speaking at a Senate Committee hearing today, Rand Paul really wanted to make it clear he had thoughts for Dr Fauci.
First, he asked a long and rambly "question" about why there's no official declaration that people who have already tested positive become subsequently immune. (Answer: because there's no evidence to show this is the case.)
Then he moves onto an even more bizarre line of questioning, saying that mortality in children is "almost zero" in New York (he's the senator of Kentucky) and that we need to "observe with an open mind what happened in Sweden, where the kids kept going to school". Sweden eschewed lockdown and last month recorded higher death rates in relation to its population size than anywhere else in Scandinavia.
He goes on to say that in Kentucky and other rural states, they never reached "pandemic levels", and suggests that the problem is really only in New England. Let's take a minute to note here that over 81,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 so far, and the definition of a pandemic is a disease which is spread around the world, which coronavirus definitely is, Kentucky (which has confirmed 6,677 cases) notwithstanding.
We have less deaths in Kentucky than we have in an average flu season. That's not to say this isn't deadly, but really outside of New England we've had a relatively benign course for this virus nationwide. And I think a national strategy, a one-size-fits-all where nobody's going to go to school, is kind of ridiculous.
He goes on to say that we should be "humble", that Dr Fauci isn't "the one person who gets to make the decision", and that there's people "on the other side" saying the economy can be re-opened, and the "facts will bear this out".
If we keep kids out of school for another year, what's going to happen is that the poor and underprivileged kids who don't have a parent that say 'we're gonna teach them at home' are not going to learn for a full year.
While there may be some truth to that, there are ways around this. For example, giving "poor and underprivileged kids" access to free healthcare might be a start, as would setting up a remote learning initiative or providing proper government support to low-income families who are struggling so that they have the opportunity to take care of their children's education without risking their lives.
More importantly, the impact of coronavirus on children remains unclear, despite Paul's assertion that deaths are low.
Fauci responded to his rant, saying that he doesn't come to his conclusions based on economics, but rather based on science, given that he's... you know, a scientist.
I don't give advice about anything other than public health. You used the words 'we should be humble' about what we don't know. And I think that falls under the fact that we don't know everything about this virus. And we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children.
Fauci explains that we're just now seeing an additional concern when it comes to infections in children, where coronavirus appears to cause a potentially deadly inflammatory disease similar to Kawasaki.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced over the weekend that these complications had caused three known deaths so far.
Over on Twitter, people were shocked by the exchange, and that Paul would make a point so clearly lacking in substance.
Others pointed out that even if children were completely immune, it still wouldn't make sense to re-open schools.
And teachers weighed in to express their concern.
Not to mention the fact that kids can still infect vulnerable people.
Fauci may not win them all but he definitely came off looking like the voice of reason in this bizarre exchange.