On Tuesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on early and outpatient treatment of COVID-19. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) went after the health bureaucracy, mentioning Dr. Fauci by name. He roasted the government experts for crushing dissenting views and holding their own opinions above others.
In Dr. Paul’s opening remarks, he apologized for the behavior of Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who was dismissive and left the hearing. Paul said that science is about debate, evidence, and discussion. Contentious debate, Paul said, is how we get to the truth. He asserted that Peters’ failure to engage in this process and reliance on consensus is how science dies.
“Science is not about ad hominem and attacks,” Paul said. “So, by attacking this panel without listening to it, leaving in a huff and having no questions shows a small mindedness, a closemindedness and really it should be everything we should avoid.”
Paul made the case that both COVID-19 and the measures we have taken to control the virus can have deadly consequences. He shared that he and his wife were mourning a neighbor who recently passed away with COVID-19. Then he described the case of a woman in her 30s with two young children who died of a fatal arrhythmia early in the pandemic. Her outpatient stress test was canceled to preserve hospital capacity, and she died before she could be correctly diagnosed.
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He cautioned that no one has the market cornered on being right about COVID-19. “But it’s a mistake to say one person should have all the power to determine what we should do,” the senator said. “When we place too much confidence in government doctors, such as Dr. Fauci. Dr. Kory (a witness on the panel) mentioned it. He mentioned in June about steroids. I mentioned it in March when Dr. Fauci came into my committee hearing.”
He then went on to explain his medical rationale for thinking that steroids may work. End-stage COVID-19 is similar to many other end-stage illnesses in its clinical presentation. To Dr. Paul, it made sense that treatments that work in other cases where adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and toxic shock occur could help COVID-19 patients.
After describing another case, Paul recalled, “So, I raised my hand to Dr. Fauci and said, ‘Do you think steroids might have a role in this?’ He sort of dismissed me, and said the studies were showing it probably wouldn’t work.”
“But I would think most people would argue now that one of the most significant developments in the acute care of the COVID patient has been steroids actually, and trying to give them the steroids before they’ve gotten into the full ARDS syndrome,” said Paul. “Some are even getting it at a very early stage in the disease. But that came from people asking questions, being skeptical and not letting one doctor, such as Dr. Fauci, say ‘Oh that’s not right, young man, go sit in the corner.'”
This is not the first time Paul has questioned Dr. Fauci’s singular authority over all things COVID-19. At another hearing regarding school reopenings, they sparred over the impacts of COVID-19 on children. They were also confrontational regarding immunity to COVID-19 post-infection. Paul actually said that Fauci was not the “end all” in the response and that there had been enough mistakes in the pandemic response that everyone ought to have a little more humility.
For those of you who are not aware–and why would you be with our incurious corporate media–frontline clinicians and researchers have been doing studies on readily available generic drugs to use in outpatient COVID-19 infections. The goal is to reduce not just deaths but also disease severity and hospitalizations.
Senator Peters deserves to be called out for his response. In his opening statement, he talked about the deadly impacts of COVID-19. He talked about the need for evidence regarding COVID-19 outpatient treatments and said the committee was not pursuing evidence. Rather, they were pursuing politics. It is too ironic from the guy who stormed out and didn’t listen to the researchers’ and clinicians’ evidence. He submitted 50 letters from public health experts noting the importance of science in the pandemic response and then left before scientific evidence was provided.
The medication being discussed in this hearing is ivermectin. It has not been studied as much as HCQ, but the results to date are encouraging. The witnesses have studies covering over 4,000 patients in various settings but cannot obtain a review through the NIH. They asked for the committee’s assistance with this and noted that funding for additional studies is not readily available. Money to study the efficacy of current generic medications in new applications is difficult to obtain. That is a tragic fact, as these medications are less expensive and more readily available.
Outpatient treatment is always preferable to hospitalization and death. If we had these tools, Los Angeles would not be shut down again due to hospital capacity concerns. Draconian instructions for the Christmas holiday would also not be necessary. It is also likely Dr. Anthony Fauci would lose much of his influence over public policy, and the demands for his face in pressers and on magazine covers would decrease.
Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) should be lauded for holding these hearings, and more of our leaders should take them as seriously as Senator Paul does. As Paul correctly pointed out, our government “experts” do not have the final say on these topics. Input from clinicians treating patients and researchers is just as important. One could even assert that their input is more valuable. Clinicians have to face their patients every day and bring their best advice. Researchers are motivated to solve problems. The incentives in the health bureaucracy are significantly less clear.
WATCH Senator Paul’s opening statement: