Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan grilled White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday during a House subcommittee hearing on coronavirus.
Jordan used his five minutes of questioning to press the doctor on whether ongoing protests and demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd should be banned as a potential path for the spread of coronavirus, but Fauci repeatedly refused to answer directly.
“Dr. Fauci, do protests increase the spread of the virus?” Jordan asked.
“Crowding together particularly when you’re not wearing a mask contributes to the spread of the virus,” Fauci responded, adding that he wasn’t “in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way” when asked whether protests should be limited.
“I’m not favoring anybody over anybody,” Fauci said when pressed by Jordan about church services being banned in places. “I’m just making a statement that’s a broad statement, that avoid crowds of any type, no matter where you are, because that leads to the acquisition and transmission. And I don’t judge one crowd versus another crowd. When you’re in a crowd, particularly if you’re not wearing a mask, that induces the spread.”
“There’s been no violence I can see at church. I haven’t seen people during a church service go out and harm police officers or burn buildings, but we know that for 63 days, nine weeks, it’s been happening in Portland,” Jordan said. “One night in Chicago 49 officers were injured, but no limits to protests but boy, you can’t go to church on Sunday.”
“I don’t know how many times I can answer that,” the doctor responded. “I’m not going to opine on limiting anything.”
The two continued to go back and forth with Jordan pointing out what he considers an “inconsistency” between the treatment of the two actions and Fauci denying it.
“I can tell you that crowds are known, particularly when you don’t have a mask, to increase the acquisition and transmission, no matter what the crowd is,” Fauci told Jordan. (RELATED: ‘Why Do You Think They Would Give You Money?’: Tucker Challenges Jim Jordan On Campaign Contributions From Google)
“But do you understand Americans’ concern?” Jordan asked a visibly frustrated Fauci at the end. “Protesting according to Democrats is just fine, but you can’t go to work, you can’t go to school, you can’t go to church. There are limits on all three of those fundamental activities, but protesting is just fine.”
Fauci did say in early June that he was “very concerned” that the then-new protests could spread coronavirus.