Dr. Fauci to Sen. Paul: 'You are not listening...'

Sen. Paul. asked Dr. Fauci if he had "second thoughts" about his mitigation recommendations, which include standing six feet apart and wearing masks, adding that despite those efforts, "our death rate is essentially worse than Sweden's."

Fauci pointed out that Sweden's death rate is worse than other Scandinavian countries and said it was inappropriate to compare Sweden to the U.S. He said he stood by his mitigation recommendations.

When Paul then said New York's high death rate showed that mitigation efforts fall short, Fauci dug in by replying, "You've misconstrued that Senator, and you've done that repetitively in the past," and went on to explain that New York has gotten the virus under control by following the mitigation guidelines.

Video Transcript

RAND PAUL: Dr. Fauci, today you said you are not for economic lockdown, yet your mitigation recommendations, from dating to baseball to restaurants to movie theaters, have led to this economic lockdown. Do you have any second thoughts about your mitigation recommendations, considering the evidence that, despite all of the things we've done in the US, our death rate is essentially worse than Sweden, equivalent to the less developed world that is unable to do any of the things that you've been promoting?

ANTHONY FAUCI: You know, Senator, I'd be happy at a different time to sit down and go over the detail. You've said a lot of different things. You've compared us to Sweden, and there are a lot of differences. And you said, well, you know, there are a lot of differences between Sweden, but compare Sweden's death rate to other comparable Scandinavian countries. It's worse. So I don't think it's appropriate to compare Sweden with us.

Yes, we have-- I think, in the beginning, we've done things based on the knowledge we had at the time. And hopefully, and I am, and my colleagues are humble enough and modest enough to realize that, as new data comes, you make different recommendations. But I don't regret saying that the only way we could have really stopped the explosion of infection was by essentially-- and when I say shutting down, I mean essentially having the physical separation and the kinds of recommendations that we've made.

RAND PAUL: You've been a big fan of Cuomo and the shutdown in New York. You've lauded New York for their policy. New York had the highest death rate in the world. How can we possibly be jumping up and down and saying, oh, Governor Cuomo did a great job? He had the worst death rate in the world.

ANTHONY FAUCI: No, you've misconstrued that, Senator, and you've done that repetitively in the past. They got hit very badly. They made some mistakes. Right now, if you look at what's going on right now, the things that are going on in New York to get their test positivity 1% or less is because they are looking at the guidelines that we have put together from the task force of the four or five things of masks, social distancing, outdoors more than indoors, avoiding crowds, and washing hands.

RAND PAUL: Or they've developed enough community immunity that they're no longer having the pandemic because they have enough immunity in New York City to actually stop it.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I challenge that, Senator--

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

--please, sir, I would like to be able to do this because this happens with Senator Rand all the time. You were not listening to what the director of the CDC said that, in New York, it's about 22%. If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you're alone in that.