SENATOR Rand Paul has told Dr Anthony Fauci "you're not the end all" of coronavirus decisions – before the expert hit back at his "cavalier" push to send children back to school.
The heated exchange happened during a Senate meeting on Tuesday, which took place via video call.
During the meeting, Fauci was probed about the difficulties of reopening schools and colleges this fall.
The coronavirus expert continually aired his concerns with opening the school gates and insisted that having a COVID-19 vaccine would be "a bit of a bridge too far."
However, Sen Paul took a hit at the doctor's caution and said: "As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all.
"I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make a decision. We can listen to your advice but there are people on the other side saying there is not going to be a surge…
"I think it’s a huge mistake not sending our kids back to school."
Fauci quickly hit back at Paul's comments and said: “First of all Senator Paul, I never made myself out to be the end-all in this.
"I am a scientist and I give information based on scientific evidence."
The doctor then went on to school the senator about the coronavirus infection in children.
"We don’t know everything about this virus, and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children," he said.
"We’ve got to be careful that we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects."
The doc was also asked by senators what could happen if the states do not adhere to the guidelines and reopen too quickly.
Fauci replied: "Consequences could be really serious."
When probed further, the doctor said: "My concern is that if states or cities or regions attempt to get back to some form of normality disregard to the checkpoints we put in our guidelines.""If that occurs there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak you may not be able to control."
Fauci went on to say that reopening prematurely "would set you back" economically and could lead to "suffering and death."
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