Fauci To Warn Of 'Danger' If Country Opens Too Quickly In Key Senate Hearing
Updated at 7:47 a.m. ET
A key hearing on the coronavirus is taking place on Capitol Hill, and Dr. Anthony Fauci says his main message to lawmakers will be "the danger of trying to open the country prematurely."
The Senate hearing is called "COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School." The irony, though, is that it will take place via video conference. The Senate health committee's chairman, Republican Lamar Alexander, will chair the hearing remotely from his home in Tennessee because one of his staffers tested positive for COVID-19.
Four top doctors integral to the government's coronavirus response, who are expected to testify, will also do so remotely. Three are self-quarantining because of exposure to a White House staffer who also tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Senate hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET. Watch it live.
Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn are expected to appear.
Fauci told The New York Times in an email, "The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely."
"If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to 'Open America Again,' then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal," he added.
The medical experts are sure to be asked about several things President Trump said during a briefing at the White House on Monday, most notably on testing.
"We have prevailed" on testing, Trump said.
Asked when all Americans will be able to get tested every day, as often as the officials in the White House are, Trump claimed: "Very soon. I mean, really, very soon."
There is no evidence the country is close to getting everyone tested routinely or that there's even a plan or push to do so.
Later, Trump inaccurately said, "If somebody wants to be tested right now, they'll be able to be tested."
That is not true.
Trump and Adm. Brett Giroir, who will also be testifying at the Senate hearing, clarified that everyone who needs a test can get one.
And then, Trump added, "Not everybody should get a test, because they should have certain things when they're not feeling right."
That's a remarkable statement considering that Vice President Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for COVID-19 — and displayed no symptoms.
Expect the doctors Tuesday to explain asymptomatic spread and how the cases in the White House demonstrate the need for everyone to be routinely tested, not just those with fevers, coughing and other symptoms.
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