NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Top US Scientist Slams Vaccine Skeptic Senator For Death Threats.

Top US Scientist Slams Vaccine Skeptic Senator For Death Threats

Anthony Fauci said the attacks distracted from the important work of tackling the pandemic (FILE)

Washington:

Top American scientist Anthony Fauci slammed a vaccine skeptic Republican senator for unleashing "crazies" who were threatening his life and harassing his family, in unusually emotional congressional testimony on Tuesday.

The latest bitter exchange between Fauci and Senator Rand Paul came as Covid-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant soared, sending hospitalizations to an all-time high of 145,982, beating out a previous record of around 142,000 in January 2021.

The United States is the world's hardest-hit country, with more than 840,000 deaths, and is reeling from its fifth wave.

President Joe Biden's top officials, including his chief medical advisor Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walenksy, and acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head Janet Woodcock were summoned to testify before the Senate about the pandemic.

While many fellow lawmakers focused their questions on the lack of adequate testing and confusing new guidelines on how infected people should end their isolation, Paul, who has railed against vaccine mandates and refused to get vaccinated, said Fauci was personally to blame for people's deaths.

Paul said Fauci was the "lead architect" of America's Covid response, blaming him for the around 450,000 deaths that occurred since Biden took office -- although the vast majority were unvaccinated, and health officials including Fauci have consistently advocated for vaccines.

"You personally attack me and with absolutely not a shred of evidence of anything you say," Fauci responded.

The 81-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases added the attacks distracted from the important work of tackling the pandemic, and made him a personal target for violence.

"All of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there, and I have life threats upon my life, harassment of my family, and my children with obscene phone calls."

Fauci recalled that in late December, a man was arrested on his way from California to the capital Washington armed with an AR-15 assault weapon and multiple rounds of ammunition.

The man said he wanted to kill Fauci, because of what he said was blood on the scientists' hands.

Fauci then brandished a printout from Paul's website that showed the banner "Fire Dr Fauci" next to an invitation to donate to the Republican's campaign.

"You are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain," he added.

The clash came as Covid overwhelms America's health care system, already stretched by the Delta variant and by mass staff resignations.

Though Omicron causes severe cases at a lower rate than Delta, it is reaching more people because of its extreme infectiousness.

The latest data from New York state shows that Covid vaccines continue to stand up well against severe outcomes.

By December 27, 4.6 vaccinated people per 100,000 were hospitalized per week compared to 58.3 per 100,000 among unvaccinated people, for an age-adjusted vaccine efficacy against hospitalization of 92 percent.

There has been a decoupling between the rate of cases and hospitalizations during the Omicron wave compared to prior waves, but the effect has not been as strong as that seen in Britain, which was hit by Omicron first but has a higher vaccination and boosted rate.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Related news
MoneyWatch: Federal Reserve plans to raise interest rates.

MoneyWatch: Federal Reserve plans to raise interest rates.

The Federal Reserve signaled it's getting ready to raise interest rates as soon as March but will keep rates near zero for now. Jared Woodard, the head of the research investment committee of Bank of America Global Research, joined CBS News at the...

$110,000 reward offered in death of 16-year-old Tioni Theus.

$110,000 reward offered in death of 16-year-old Tioni Theus.

Los Angeles County announced a $110,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of suspects for the death of Tioni Theus, who was found dead on the 110 Freeway on Jan. 8.

Six Nations hit with COVID-19 travel challenges

Six Nations hit with COVID-19 travel challenges

COVID vaccination status may not be a requirement to play for a rugby team but it will determine if some players will be eligible to travel for the upcoming Six Nations. Vaccinations are a requirement when traveling into countries like France. Eng...

COVID-19: Cases rise in children returning to the classroom.

COVID-19: Cases rise in children returning to the classroom.

COVID infection rates have been decreasing in the UK since the Christmas holidays. But more children have been getting infected since the schools returned. Almost one in 12 under-18s have been infected - and in some cases multiple times. Sky's Sci...

1

Ukraine conflict: US and allies won't budge over fears of Russian invasion - DW News.

Ukraine conflict: US and allies won't budge over fears of Russian invasion - DW News.

Representatives from Ukraine and Russia met in person today, together with their German and French counterparts in Paris. The four-way "Normandy format" has been used repeatedly since Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014. Was...

LIVE: NBC News NOW - Jan. 26

LIVE: NBC News NOW - Jan. 26

NBC News NOW is live, reporting breaking news and developing stories in real time. We are on the scene, covering the most important stories of the day and taking deep dives on issues you care about. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video:...