The political debate over civil liberties and the public health response to COVID-19 boiled over Thursday in a heated exchange between the country's top infectious diseases expert and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.
Jordan pressed Dr. Anthony Fauci for more than ten minutes over two rounds of questioning at a House subcommittee hearing on the federal government's response to the pandemic. Each time he demanded to know when Americans would "get their freedoms back" after more than a year of COVID-19 health mitigations measures...
David Broniatowski, a George Washington University systems engineering professor, led a group of researchers in a study on how anti-vaccine groups in recent years have increasingly rallied around the idea that shots are a violation of civil liberties. He noted that while Rep. Jordan's comments weren't anti-vaccine on their face, they resonate with a group that has used similar arguments to undermine public health.
"When we see the kinds of frustration being expressed in these conversations with Fauci in Congress, we certainly expect vaccine opponents will take advantage of that momentum to use those same frustrations not to vaccinate," Broniatowski noted.