Dr. Fauci and Rand Paul exchange accusations on Capitol Hill: 5 Things podcast

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On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: We're telling you what happened yesterday between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing about the origins of COVID-19. Each man accused the other of lying. Then, we're talking COVID vaccines and the delta variant. Finally, you'll hear from Olympic sprinter Noah Lyles and gymnast Jordan Chiles.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson. This is 5 Things you need to know Wednesday, the 21st of July 2021. Today, COVID is back out of control. Plus a roadblock to a bipartisan infrastructure bill and more.

Here are some of the top headlines.

  1. The Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions. Off a 50 point performance from star Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 105 to 98 in game six of the finals, to lift their first trophy in a half century.

  2. The U.S. saw the largest one year drop in life expectancy since World War II during the Coronavirus pandemic. It declined by 1.5 years in 2020 to 77.3, the lowest level since 2003. Hispanic and Black populations saw the largest declines.

  3. Harvey Weinstein has been extradited to California to face more sex crime charges in Los Angeles County. The convicted sex offender and former movie mogul is serving a 23 year prison sentence in New York State for first degree sexual assault and third degree rape. In California, the 69 year old faces 11 felony counts of sexual assault, including forcible rape.

Taylor Wilson:

It was another sparring session between Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci. The government's top infectious disease expert again appeared before Congress and again, got into a heated discussion with Paul.

Senator Rand Paul:

Dr. Fauci, knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11th, where you claimed that the NIH never funded Gain-of-function research Wuhan?

Dr. Anthony Fauci:

Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress and I do not retract that statement. This paper that you were referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being Gain-of-function. Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially, you do not know what you are talking about. It's a dance and you're dancing around this because you're trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic. I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, Senator, because if you look at the viruses that were used in the experiments that were given in the annual reports that were published in the literature, it is molecularly impossible.

Senator Rand Paul:

No one's saying those viruses [crosstalk 00:02:59] caused it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci:

It is molecularly...

Senator Rand Paul:

No one is alleging that those virus caused the pandemic. What we're alleging is, the Gain-of-function research was going on in that lab and NIH funded it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci:

That is not...

Senator Rand Paul:

[inaudible 00:03:09] away from it. It meets your definition and you are [inaudible 00:03:12] the truth.

Dr. Anthony Fauci:

And you are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual. I totally resent that.

Senator Rand Paul:

And it could have been. It could have been.

Dr. Anthony Fauci:

If anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you,

Taylor Wilson:

Their argument centered around a Wuhan lab. Paul accused Fauci of lying at a previous hearing about the National Institute of Health Funding, the lab that Paul suggested contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauci explained that the project Paul was referencing did not qualify as Gain-of-function research, which could include increasing the transmissibility of viruses. Their latest spurr comes as virus numbers are again deeply concerning health officials. The highly transmissible Delta variant is now responsible for 83% of new infections in the U.S. That figure was 50% as recently as July 3rd. CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky:

In some parts of the country, the percentage is even higher, particularly in areas of low vaccination rates. The message from CDC remains clear. The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants is to prevent the spread of disease, and vaccination is the most powerful tool we have. We must continue to expand vaccine coverage by building trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. This is particularly important in communities of color, rural communities, and other population groups at risk. We continue to recommend that schools implement layered prevention strategies to protect those who are not fully vaccinated and encourage vaccination for those who are eligible. Masks continue to be a critical part of these layer prevention strategies. Working together, school administrators and public health workers can carefully consider community transmission rates, local vaccine coverage, and occurrence of outbreaks when deciding what strategies are needed to help prevent the spread COVID-19 and safeguard in-person education.

Taylor Wilson:

Vaccines continue to mostly protect against Delta, particularly against serious illness. More than 99% of recent COVID-19 deaths are among the unvaccinated. The debate around mask wearing is also recircling. The CDC previously said that vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks indoors, but local communities are reconsidering their mask guidelines and Los Angeles County this weekend, once again, mandated mask use indoors. Arkansas, Missouri, and New York are also considering mask mandates amid case spikes in those states. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended Monday that everyone older than two years old wear masks, regardless of vaccination status for the coming school year. A bipartisan infrastructure bill likely won't move forward on Wednesday as GOP negotiators push to delay the Senate vote. Nearly a dozen Senate Republicans, including lead Republican negotiator, senator Rob Portman struck a deal with President Joe Biden in June on the infrastructure plan, but lawmakers said this week, that a number of issues still need resolving.

50 Democrats need at least 10 Republicans to support the bill to clear a parliamentary hurdle for debate. The vote will be a key test of whether any of President Joe Biden's economic proposals will become law. The bipartisan package offers hundreds of billions of dollars for roads, bridges, railways, broadband, and more.

Taylor Wilson:

The Olympics are here. Part of the games, anyway. The opening ceremony isn't until Friday, but events did begin this week on Tuesday, the first Olympic softball games since 2008. On Wednesday, women's soccer kicks off. That includes the U.S. women's national team, which begins its journey at 4:30 AM Eastern time, the American women are looking for redemption against Sweden after the Swedes eliminated them in the 2016 quarterfinals in Rio, sending the stars in stripes home without a medal. Unlike the men's tournament, the ladies have full rosters with no age restrictions. That means superstars like Carli Lloyd, Rose Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe and others are on the squad.

Taylor Wilson:

Also in the women's footie on Wednesday, Great Britain plays Chile, China takes on Brazil, and Japan goes up against Canada. The men's soccer tournament then kicks off on Thursday. You can find more on the soccer and all things Olympics over at USA Today Sports as the countdown to Friday's opening ceremony continues. There, you can also find interviews with athletes, including an increased focus on mental health as sprinter Noah Lyles and gymnast Jordan Chiles told USA Today.

Noah Lyles:

Mental health is just a part of life. Just like the reason you go to a doctor is to make sure that your body is okay, the reason you go to a therapist or you talk to somebody is to make sure that your mind is okay. Everything that you go through in life, you're going to need some help for. There's going to be a point where it's just too much for you to be able to fathom, where you need somebody else to break it down. Usually a professional is the best one to go to. Your best friend from down the street might be your best friend, but I'm pretty sure he didn't go get a PhD in mental health. At the end of the day, you need to start understanding what first you're seeing and then recognizing it, and then when you recognize it, you'll be able to see it in the actions that you do, and then you'll be able to transfer it to the world.

Noah Lyles:

You start to see in other people and you're like, "Well, when that person acts like this, I start to act like this." But you can start saying, "Oh, now that I know he's acting like that, I can stop myself and not get caught up in somebody else's emotions." Then you will be in a right mind to even help them because you can't help somebody without helping yourself first.

Jordan Chiles:

I was not in the best of shape the past few years that I was doing gymnastics because I had a whole coaching change, I had a whole thing that was happening before I even came here, so I was still in a whole box of, "Oh my goodness. What am I going to do?" Definitely my physical health and my mental health issues... Like I said, I honestly was just in a dark place before I came here. Just having the environment that I am right now gave me the ability to come out of my shell and be who I'm supposed to be. I enjoy myself more than I did prior to everything that's happened.

For more, head to USAtoday.com/sports.

Taylor Wilson:

Wildfires continue to rage across the West. Smoke is clouding skies as far away as New York. That Haze won't be in the forecast for the East Coast for long though, a cold front is moving into the Northeast from Canada and will clear out some of the smoke. Now, the West though, a different story. As thick smoke continues, the massive Bootleg fire is now more than 600 square miles in size and continues to burn in Oregon. It's only 30% contained and one of dozens of fires burning in at least a dozen states. We'll find out who's trying to unseat California Governor, Gavin Newsom on Wednesday. The final list of candidates appearing on a September 14th ballot will be released. Those hoping to oust the Democrat include Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, also former San Diego mayor, Kevin Faulconer and millionaire businessman, John Cox, who lost to Newsom in the 2018 election. Governor Newsom has been under pressure. Throughout the pandemic, the state has gone through rolling versions of some of the toughest lockdowns in the country, including controversial mass school and business closures.

An initial list of 41 candidates was released on Saturday, including 21 Republicans, eight Democrats, one Libertarian, nine Independence, and two members of The Green Party. Before Newsom, Jerry Brown was the state's democratic governor. Before him, the last Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us wherever you find your audio, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their great work on the show. 5 Things is part of the USA Today Network.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dr. Fauci fires back at Senator Rand Paul, COVID accusations fly

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