Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) scolded Anthony Fauci in a tweet on Sunday, suggesting the nation's leading infectious disease expert apologize for his warnings about the danger the coronavirus poses to school-age children.
"Dr Fauci owes @RandPaul an apology," one of Paul's Twitter followers said.
Paul responded: "No, he owes one to every single parent and school-age child in America. I told him this multiple times this summer."
Fauci and Paul have clashed several times since the pandemic began, with the Kentucky Republican accusing Fauci of fear-mongering rhetoric and what he says is incorrect praise of so-called lockdown measures implemented to stem the spread of the virus.
“Dr. Fauci, every day we seem to hear from you things we can’t do. But when you’re asked, ‘Can we go back to school?’ I don’t hear much certitude at all. ‘Well, maybe.’ ‘It depends.’ Guess what? It’s rare for kids to transmit this. I don’t hear that coming from you. All I hear is, ‘We can’t do this, we can’t do that, we can’t play baseball,’ ” Paul said while demanding schools reopen during a Senate hearing in late June. “It’s important to realize that if society meekly submits to an expert and that expert is wrong, a great deal of harm may occur when we allow one man’s policy or one group of small men and women to be foisted on an entire nation."
Fauci responded to Paul at the hearing, saying he feels "very strongly we need to do whatever we can to get the children back to school."
During the early days of the pandemic, Fauci and other public health officials urged local school districts to consider all factors before deciding if it was safe to have children and teachers return to classrooms.
On Sunday, Fauci clarified his position on school closures amid a nationwide spike in coronavirus cases this fall.
"The default position should be to try as best as possible, within reason, to keep the children in school, to get them back to school," Fauci said on ABC's "This Week." "If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not very big at all, not like one would have suspected. So let's try to get the kids back. But let's try to mitigate the things that maintain and push the kind of community spread we are trying to avoid. And those are the things you know well. The bars, the restaurants ... those are the things that drive the community spread. Not the schools."