Senator Rand Paul said Tuesday that the response to the coronavirus pandemic has been hampered by “wrong prediction after wrong prediction” as he advocated for schools to reopen in the fall.
“The history of this when we look back will be of wrong prediction after wrong prediction after wrong prediction,” Paul said during a Senate hearing Tuesday at which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, testified.
“I think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy,” the Kentucky Republican said. “As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end all. I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make a decision,”
Paul said he believes it would be a “huge mistake” not to open schools in the fall and noted that the mortality rate from the coronavirus for children “approaches zero.”
Keeping children out of school would have a disproportionate effect on “poor and underprivileged kids” who do not have a parent who is able to homeschool them and will end up not learning for a full year, the senator said.
“In rural states we never really reached any sort of pandemic level,” Paul continued. “It’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.”
Fauci said he agreed with Paul that the coronavirus has not proven as deadly to children as to others, but argued that the virus is still relatively mysterious and noted that some children with the virus developed a “very strange inflammatory syndrome.”
Paul himself tested positive for the coronavirus in March. As of Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. has seen more than 1.3 million cases of the virus and 80,000 people have died from it.