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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci clashed with Sen. Rand Paul, rejecting the Kentucky senator's repeated contention that hard-hit New York has become largely immune because so many people were infected.
"You've lauded New York for their policy. New York had the highest death rate in the world. How could we possibly be jumping up and down and saying, "Oh, Governor Cuomo did a great job?" He had the worst death rate in the world," Paul said.
"You misconstrued that, Senator, and you've done that repetitively in the past. They got hit very badly. They've made some mistakes," Fauci said. "The things that are going on in New York to get their test positivity 1% or less is because they are looking at the guidelines that we have put together, from the task force, of the four or five things of masks, social distancing, outdoors more than indoors, avoiding crowds, and washing hands."
Paul argued New York "developed enough community immunity that they're no longer having the pandemic."
"You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said, that in New York, it's about 22%. If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you're alone in that," Fauci countered.
Fauci was among top U.S. health officials seeking to assure a skeptical Congress and public that they can trust any vaccine the government ultimately approves.
Hopes are high that answers about at least one of several candidates being tested in the U.S. could come by year's end, maybe sooner.
"We feel cautiously optimistic that we will be able to have a safe and effective vaccine, although there is never a guarantee of that," Fauci said.
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