When questioned during a Senate hearing, Fauci was asked whether COVID-19-related school shutdowns, which led to the rise of virtual learning, were worth it.
“I think it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer to that. I know, in the very beginning, when we had really no other protection prior to vaccinations that were available to contain … the spread of the virus,” Fauci said in terms of what would “protect children as well as the rest of the population” from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
But now, policymakers “have felt more than just recently that it’s very important to keep the children in school for the simple reason that we know of the deleterious effects both psychologically mentally and developmentally and children, to keep them out of school,” Fauci added, repeating that it is “very tough to tell” and “only time will tell” whether children suffered.
Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, said that he still believes closing schools was the right decision from a public health standpoint.
Researchers at the University of Chicago last month published a working paper that examined how states responded to the pandemic, noting that the shuttering of schools might have been the most harmful policy decision.
“School closures may ultimately prove to be the most costly policy decision of the pandemic era in both economic and mortality terms,” University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan and fellow authors Stephen Moore and Phil Kerpen of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity said in the paper.
Noting that school closures were entirely the responsibility of policymakers, they estimated “that learning losses from pandemic era school closures could cause a 3 percent decline in lifetime earnings, and that a loss of just one-third of a year of learning has a long-term economic impact of $14 trillion.”
The Republican-led states of Utah, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, Florida, New Hampshire, Maine, Arkansas, and Idaho were ranked in the top 10. Vermont, which is led by Democrats, was also ranked with those states, according to researchers. But at the bottom were Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Nevada, Maryland, Illinois, California, New Mexico, New York, the District of Columbia, and New Jersey—all led by Democrat elected officials.
This week, Fauci, 84, also generated headlines when he told CNN that he likely would retire if former President Donald Trump was reelected in 2024. “Uh, well, no,” Fauci replied when asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta about whether he’d serve if Trump took office. And again, when asked by CNN if Fauci would “not serve with Trump again,” Fauci replied: “Right, for sure. Yeah.”