As much as we respect Dr. Anthony Fauci's service to our country and medical opinion, we disagree that his current positions on the virus outbreak provide the best path forward. Instead, discouraging states from reopening will only prolong a long-term public health and economic crisis.
Fauci and company have relied on models that were later found to be deficient. He even has suggested that he can't rely on any of the models, especially if the underlying assumptions are wrong. Yet, Fauci persists in advocating policies that have emasculated the medical care system and ruined the economy.
Fauci claims his message has been consistent, but it is contrary to that of the administration he works for.
Economic, societal impacts matter
While President Donald Trump urged governors to safely open our country, Fauci testified to a Senate committee last week that opening too soon would "result in needless suffering and death." What about the countless stories of needless suffering and death produced by Fauci's one-size-fits-all approach to public health?
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"It's inconvenient from a societal standpoint, from an economic standpoint to go through this," Fauci stated at the end of March. How come he is so understated when it comes to compassion for the people whose lives have been wrecked by his policies but so demonstrative when trying to scare the American people?
It seems to us that he has not fully considered the public health risks, either. We are seeing hospitals and medical groups having to close because they couldn't treat patients. The very foundation of our medical care system has been rocked - not solely because of the virus, but also because of the response to the virus.
As a medical bureaucrat in far-away Washington, perhaps he cannot empathize with the millions of Americans who have already closed down their businesses or are poised to lose them and their life savings, and who have seen their retirement funds depleted as the economy soured. Maybe he is simply oblivious to the health problems that inure when a person is one of more than 33 million Americans who have lost their job.
Is it possible that he has not been keeping up with the stories of people who have experienced significant health problems due to the economic and emotional stress resulting from his insistence on closing what was once the most robust economy in the world?
It isn't just the economy that has been enervated. The foundation of the health care system has also been ruptured.
And now that governors are trying to open up their communities, allow hospitals to determine whether they can provide elective surgeries, and trust the American people to exercise their freedom responsibly, Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx have attempted to scuttle the opening.
Trust Americans to do what's right
We should acknowledge that certain populations are more vulnerable, and we should advise governors and state legislatures to take precautions for those populations and their caregivers.
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But the answer to America's problems has rarely been the federal government. Our solutions have been in trusting the American people.
Freedom allows us to judge the risk and reward and determine a course we think best.
If we feel going to a certain retailer, barber shop, restaurant, or some other business is risky, we have the judgment to decide to not go there. If we want to stay home, we can.
In the end, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and others seek to corral our freedom, just as the American people and many of our elected leaders are finding ways to open our society.
President Trump has expressed a desire to restore our economic greatness and the positives that come with it - including better public health - by opening up our communities. We must forge ahead even as Fauci tries to brush away the optimism of the president and the American people.
Dr. Rand Paul, a physician, is a Republican and represents Kentucky in the U.S. Senate. Follow him on Twitter: @RandPaul. Rep. Andy Biggs, a Republican, represents Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives. Follow him on Twitter: @RepAndyBiggsAZ.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rand Paul and Andy Biggs: Anthony Fauci is wrong. Reopen our economy.