Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) got under the skin of Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday during testimony before the Senate HELP committee as the two sparred over whether or not it's safe for children to return to school. The senator believes that some children can get back to class, to which Fauci urged caution.
"We don't know everything about this virus, and we really ought to be very careful, particularly when it comes to children," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.
Fauci was underlining his earlier warning that we can't reopen the country prematurely because to do so would bring "really serious" consequences.
"I don't think you're the end all," Sen. Paul said, with all due respect. "I don't think you're the one person that gets to make a decision."
Chairman Lamar Alexander was about to move on, but Dr. Fauci asked to use the last 30 seconds to respond to Sen. Paul's remarks.
"I have never made myself out to be the end-all," Fauci said in defense. "I'm a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I don't give advice about economic things. I don't give advice on anything other than public health."
Fauci also got irked by Paul's suggestion that he has a big head.
"The second thing is that you use the word we should be humble about what we don't know," the physician said. "And I think that falls under the fact that we don't know everything about this virus, and we really got to be very careful, particularly when it comes to children."
Other senators brought up the dangers of keeping children at home, considering their young brains are still forming.
"They're missing out on a year of education," noted Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
Fauci said he doesn't have all the answers and that "we'll just have to see on a step-by-step basis" when we can start sending kids back to school.