In a development that would place any octogenarian in a heightened degree of danger, chief White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci tested positive for COVID-19, as CBS News reported on Wednesday.
According to a statement issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Fauci, 81, is not only fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but has also received two booster doses.
The NIH added that Fauci’s symptoms were mild in nature, that he is taking the antiviral medication Paxlovid, and that he plans to work from home until he receives negative test results.
Despite his diagnosis, Fauci, long a champion of vaccination as well as booster shots for the majority of eligible Americans, appeared virtually at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday.
During the proceedings, Fauci faced a series of tough questions from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) about a Biden administration recommendation that everyone age five and over receive a vaccine booster despite a lack of evidence that such shots reduce hospitalization and deaths in that demographic group, as Fox News reported.
Fauci was forced to admit that “there’s not enough data that has been accumulated” to show the efficacy the senator suggested would justify such a recommendation.
“So there are no studies. And Americans should all know this. There are no studies on children showing a reduction in hospitalization or death with taking a booster,” Paul declared, adding that the only studies conducted on the vaccination of children were antibody-based studies, which he contended were insufficient evidence to support their widespread use.
According to the Washington Examiner, Paul also grilled Fauci on financial payments received by the doctor and other NIH employees over a multi-year period, asking, “Can you tell me that you have not received a royalty from any entity that you ever oversaw the distribution of money in research grants…[i] t’s not just about you, everybody on the vaccine committee – have any of them ever received money from the people who make vaccines? Can you tell me?”
Fauci noted that federal law does not require the disclosure of royalty payments, and though he did provide minimally responsive information under questioning by Paul, it seems likely that little in the way of substantive answers about this and many other pandemic-related questions may have to wait until after Republicans – hopefully – reclaim the House and Senate in November.