Dr. Anthony Fauci has worked against pandemic outbreaks for decades, and as a leading figure in the White House's virus task force, he's strived to accurately convey to Americans the threat that the virus poses and the ways the fight against it is progressing.
But with President Donald Trump frequently contradicting or decrying the information relayed by Fauci, the doctor has frequently faced ire from the right, some of whom baselessly believe he has a secret agenda.
Among Fauci's more frequent detractors is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and the two clashed today in a highly publicized Senate committee hearing.
The Senator accused Fauci of going too far in his praise of New York's handling of the virus. One of the earliest and hardest hit areas, The state saw a catastrophic outbreak, but has regained control of the virus after issuing stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and other steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"You've lauded New York for their policy. New York had the highest death rate in the world. How could 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."
"No, you 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 one percent 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, or washing hands."
Paul then falsely suggested that New York had enough cases to provide herd immunity—where enough people have contracted the disease for it to no longer have viable ways to spread.
The Senator said:
"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."
Fauci made sure to correct the false statement.
"I would like to be able to do this, because this happens with Senator Rand all the time. You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said, that in New York, it's about 22 percent. If you believe that 22 percent is herd immunity, I believe you're alone in that."
The exchange was a satisfying watch for those on the side of accurate information.
The normally cool-headed Fauci's visible agitation was unusual for him.