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Over the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a great deal of disagreement between health officials and governmental figures about the safest ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. During today's House Select Subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic, "Reaching The Light At The End Of The Tunnel: A Science-Driven Approach To Swiftly And Safely Ending The Pandemic," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, got into a tense back and forth with Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican from Ohio, over the reopening of the country in the midst of a major surge. Read on to hear what both parties had to say—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this urgent news: Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.
Dr. Fauci Was Asked "When Do Americans Get Their Freedom Back?"
"Dr. Fauci, when is the time? When is the time?" Jordan asked. "In your written statement, you say now is not the time to pull back on masking physical distancing and avoiding congregate settings. When is the time? When do Americans get their freedom back?
"When we get the level of infection in this country low enough that it is not a really high…" Dr. Fauci started to respond before getting interrupted. "What is low enough? Give me a number," Jordan demanded. "We had 15 days to slow the spread [that] turned into one year of lost liberties. What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get more freedoms?"
"My message, Congressman Jordan, is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can to get the level of infection in this country low so it is no longer a threat. That is when. And I believe when that happens, you will see—" Fauci said before Jordan interrupted him again.
"What determines when? I'm sorry. What, what measure? Are we just gonna continue this forever? When do we get to the point? What measure, what standard, what objective, outcome do we have to raise before, before Americans get their liberty and freedoms back?" Jordan spat back.
"You know, you're indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital," responded Fauci.
"You don't think American's liberties have been threatened in the last year, Dr. Fauci? They've been assaulted, their liberties have—" said Jordan.
"I don't look at this as a liberty thing, Congressman Jordan—" Fauci said before Jordan interrupted with, "Well, that's obvious!"
"I look at this as a public health thing," Fauci said.
"You think the Constitution is suspended during a virus, during a pandemic?? It's certainly not," Jordan responded.
"This will end for sure. When we get the level of infection very low, it is now at such a high level. There's a threat again of major cities—" Fauci said.
Rep. Jordan Then Complained About One's Right to Assemble
"Dr. Fauci, over the last year, Americans' First Amendment rights have been completely attacked. Your right to go to church, your right to assemble, your right to petition your government, freedom of the press, freedom of speech have all been assaulted. For a year now, Americans haven't been able to go to church. Even today when they go to church, they're limited to the size of worshipers who can meet. Your right to assemble? Oh my goodness. We had a curfew last fall in Ohio. You had to be in your home at 10. And Pennsylvania you had to be in your home, when you're in your home, you had to wear a mask. In Vermont when you're in your home, you didn't have to wear a mask, Dr. Fauci, because you weren't allowed to have people over to your house. For a year American citizens haven't been able to come to their Capitol, to petition their government, to talk to their representatives and freedom of the press. The press isn't allowed in those facilities, the Biden administration will not let the press in there. And certainly freedom of speech…The governor of our third largest state meets with physicians and that video is censored because they dare to disagree with Dr. Fauci? So I just want to know when the Americans get their First Amendment liberties back," Jordan rambled on.
"I don't think anything was censored because they felt they couldn't disagree with me. I think you're making this a personal thing and it isn't," Fauci tried to respond.
"It's not a personal thing," Jordan said. "No, you are. That is exactly what you're doing," Fauci responded.
"No, your recommendations carry a lot of weight. Dr. Fauci. The chair of the financial services committee said she loves you and you're the greatest thing in the world or consistent," Jordan continued.
At this point, another representative asked "Will the gentleman yield?"
The Heated Back and Forth Continued
Then, Fauci attempted to explain himself. "My recommendations are not a personal recommendation. It's based on the CDC guidance," he stated.
"What measures have to be attained before Americans get their first amendment liberties back?" demanded Jordan, to which Fauci responded, "I just told you that."
Jordan said that he hadn't. "Right now we have about 60,000 infections a day, which is a very large risk for resurge. We're not talking about liberties. We're talking about a pandemic that has killed 560,000 Americans," explained Fauci.
"And I don't disagree with that. And I understand how serious that is, but…it's pretty serious when businesses have been shut down, people can't go to church. People can't assemble in their own homes with their friends, with their families. People can't go to a loved one's funeral. People can't get to their government, petition their representative to readdress their grievances. I also understand the First Amendment, it's pretty darn important. And it's been a year. And I want to know when Americans will get those First Amendment liberties back," Jordan continued.
At this point, Rep. Jim Clyburn attempted to shut it down. "Gentleman's time has expired," he stated, attempting to answer Jordan. "Um, I'll give you one instance of when we can all get our liberties back. When 90 percent of the members of the United States Congress get vaccinated."
"Dr. Fauci is it 90 percent? Is it 90%? That's what I, that's what I'd like to know. Give me some, give us some objective standards versus when certain things get reached, we might be able to get back to having our liberty. When, what are the numbers?" Jordan demanded.
"Right now, we're at an unacceptably high level on a daily basis. It's unacceptably high, regardless of who you are. What you're going to see as more and more people get vaccinated and we get over 3 million people a day, you're going to see the level of infection come down and down. And gradually, there will be more flexibility for doing the things that you're talking—" Fauci responded before being interrupted.
"Where does it get to, when it comes down, what number do we get our liberties back? Tell me the number!" Jordan yelled.
"When 90 percent of members of congress get vaccinated," Clyburn attempted to answer again.
"But you're not a doctor Mr. Clyburn," Jordan spat. "And he is. What is the number?"
Chaos broke out, with "Order!" being shouted more than once.
"Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, I don't want you to answer my question. The American people want Dr. Fauci to answer the question. What does it have to be?"
"You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth," Congresswoman Maxine Waters said to Jordan.
Fauci's Final Answer as to When We'll Get Back to Normal
Jordan and Fauci faced off again later. Dr. Fauci said he projected "sometime in the beginning to mid-summer" things will get back to normal, but he can't give a precise answer because he's not sure "how many people will want to be vaccinated." He said he'd like to get cases down from 60,000 a day to 10,000. As for yourself, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.