A day after testing positive for COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee via video from his home, where he is isolating.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke at length about the ongoing federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our current vaccines have maintained their effectiveness for preventing severe COVID-19,” he said during his opening statement.
Fauci did not give an update on his condition.
He did, however, spar with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who frequently confronts Fauci during his appearances before the panel.
At Thursday’s hearing, Paul pressed Fauci on the efficacy of COVID vaccines for children, claiming the “only proof” health officials have presented is that they produce antibodies.
“I think that is somewhat of an absurd exaggeration,” Fauci shot back.
The National Institutes of Health announced on Wednesday that Fauci tested positive via a rapid antigen test. It is the first time he has tested positive for the virus.
The 81-year-old, who is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, is currently experiencing mild symptoms, the NIAID said.
Fauci, who serves as President Biden’s chief medical adviser, has not recently been in close contact with Biden or any other senior government officials, the institute added.
He is the latest administration official to announce a positive test. Earlier this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive for COVID for the second time in less than a month.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been 85 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. More than 1 million Americans have died from COVID-related complications.