Dr. Anthony Fauci clashed with Rep. Jim Jordan at a House subcommittee hearing over whether the government should crack down on protests to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“I’m not in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way,” Fauci said. “You should stay away from crowds, no matter where the crowds are.”
Jordan repeatedly tried to corner Fauci into saying the government should limit protests, but Fauci refused to do so, saying it was not his place to weigh in on what the government should or shouldn’t do.
“I don’t understand what you’re asking as a public health official to opine on who should get arrested or not,” Fauci said. “That’s not my position. You could ask as much as you want, I’m not going to answer it.”
Scroll down to watch a clip of the exchange.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan got into a heated back-and-forth during a House subcommittee hearing on the novel coronavirus Friday morning.
It began when Jordan, one of President Donald Trump’s biggest attack dogs on Capitol Hill, repeatedly asked Fauci to weigh in on whether widespread protests increase the spread of COVID-19.
Fauci said that in general, large crowds, particularly those including people who aren’t wearing masks, contribute to higher infection and transmission rates.
“Should the government limit the protesting?” Jordan asked.
“I don’t think that’s relevant,” Fauci said. “I’m not in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way.”
Jordan pressed Fauci, saying, “You make all kinds of recommendations.”
He added that state governments are limiting people from attending church services and asked Fauci, “Is there a world where the Constitution says you can favor one First Amendment liberty, protesting, over another, practicing your faith?”
“I’m not favoring anybody over anybody,” Fauci said. “I’m just making a statement, that’s a broad statement. That avoid crowds of any type no matter where you are because that leads to the acquisition and transmission. And I don’t judge one crowd versus another crowd. When you’re in a crowd, particularly if you’re not wearing a mask, that induces the spread.”
“I haven’t seen people during a church service go out and harm police officers and burn buildings, but we know that for 63 days, nine weeks, it’s been happening in Portland,” Jordan said, referring to anti-racism protests that have been taking place in the city since the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Many of the demonstrations devolved into violence after federal law enforcement agents used tear gas, rubber bullets, and other materials to dispel protesters.
There’s “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 responded. “I’m not going to opine on limiting anything.”
Jordan pushed back, telling Fauci he had “opined on a lot of things.”
“You should stay away from crowds no matter where the crowds are,” Fauci said.
“Government stops people from going to work,” Jordan said, citing reports about two people …read more
Source:: Business Insider