Fauci and Representative Jim Jordan clash over protests against police brutality at House coronavirus hearing

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  • Dr Anthony Fauci clashed with Representative Jim Jordan during a House subcommittee hearing over whether the government should crack down on protests to curb the spread of COVID-19.
  • “I am not in a position to determine what the government can aggressively do,” Fauci said. “You should stay away from crowds no matter where the crowds are. “
  • Jordan has repeatedly tried to get Fauci to say the government should limit protests, but Fauci refused to do so, saying it was not for him to influence what the government should or should not make.
  • “I don’t understand what you are asking as a public health official to comment on who should be arrested and who should not,” Fauci said. “It’s not my position. You could ask as much as you want, I’m not going to answer it. “
  • Scroll down to watch a snippet of the exchange.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Dr Anthony Fauci and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan went back and forth during a House subcommittee hearing on the novel coronavirus on Friday morning.

It started when Jordan, one of President Donald Trump’s biggest attack dogs on Capitol Hill, repeatedly asked Fauci to determine whether widespread protests were increasing the spread of COVID-19.

Fauci said that in general, large crowds, especially those comprising people who do not wear masks, contribute to higher infection and transmission rates.

“Should the government limit the protests? Jordan asked.

“I don’t think it’s relevant,” Fauci said. “I am not in a position to determine what the government can aggressively do. ”

Jordan urged Fauci, saying, “You make all kinds of recommendations. ”

He added that state governments restrict people from attending religious services and asked the Fauci, “Is there a world where the Constitution says you can promote a First Amendment freedom, by protesting, over to another, by practicing your faith? ”

“I don’t favor anyone over anyone,” Fauci said. “I’m just making a statement, it’s a general statement. It avoids crowds of any kind wherever you are as it leads to acquisition and transmission. And I don’t judge one crowd against another. When you are in a crowd, especially if you are not wearing a mask, it causes spread. ”

“I haven’t seen people at a church service come out and hurt police officers or burn buildings, but we know that for 63 days, nine weeks, this has been happening in Portland,” Jordan said, referring to Anti-racist protests that have been taking place in the city since the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day. Many protests turned into violence after federal law enforcement officers used tear gas, rubber bullets and other materials to dispel protesters.

There is “no limit to protests,” Jordan said, ” [but] you can’t go to church on Sunday. ”

“I don’t know how many times I can answer that,” Fauci replied. “I’m not going to comment on limiting anything. ”

Jordan pushed back, telling Fauci he had “given advice on a lot of things.”

“You should stay away from the crowds no matter where the crowds are,” Fauci said.

“The government has prevented people from going to work,” Jordan said, citing information about two people arrested for reopening their gym. “But do you see the inconsistency, Dr Fauci?

When Fauci pointed out that there was “no inconsistency,” Jordan replied, “You are allowed to protest, millions of people in one day in the crowd, shouting, shouting, but you are trying to run your business, have you stopped? ”

Fauci, who seemed increasingly frustrated, said he did not understand “what you are asking me as a public health official to give your opinion on who should and should not be arrested. This is not my position. You can ask me. as much as you want, and I’m not going to answer it. ”

Jordan then claimed that Fauci said the protests were increasing the spread of the virus, but Fauci pushed back. “I said crowds. I didn’t say specifically, I didn’t say protests. ”

“So the protests aren’t increasing the spread of the virus?” Jordan said.

“I didn’t say that,” Fauci said. “You put words in my mouth. I could tell you that crowds are known, especially when you don’t have a mask on, to increase acquisition and transmission no matter where the crowd is. ”

Watch a snippet of the exchange below:

Friday’s hearing comes as the coronavirus death toll in the United States exceeded 151,000 earlier this week, the highest of any country in the world. When asked how other countries had managed to bring their COVID-19 outbreaks under control, Fauci said that when the pandemic started, countries in Europe and Asia shut down 95% of their economies, while that the United States has only closed 50%.

South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn posted a graph showing the spike in US cases versus European cases, which immediately sparked Trump’s ire.

“Someone, please tell Congressman Clyburn, who has no idea, that the graph he presented showing more CASs for the United States than for Europe, it is because we do MUCH MORE testing than any other country in the world, ”Trump tweeted Friday. Morning.

But many public health officials and scientific experts have pointed out that while the United States has rapidly expanded its screening and contact tracing capacity, that alone does not account for the increase in new cases.

“The fact that states are finding more cases relative to the amount of testing they perform is the strongest rebuttal to the administration’s claim that the number of cases is increasing because we are improving in research. of cases thanks to increased testing, ”Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote in the Washington Post last month. “They are telling us the opposite – that each of these states needs to do even more testing for infections – followed by more rigorous contact tracing and isolation. “

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