Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director and member of the White House coronavirus task force, warned senators on Tuesday that states must approach lifting COVID-19 precautions carefully or face unmanageable spikes in cases of the virus.
Fauci opened his remarks during the Senate hearing by highlighting his concerns:
I’ve expressed … my concern that is [if] some areas … jump over [the suggested guideline] checkpoints, and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently … we will start to see little spikes [in cases] that might turn into outbreaks
He also noted that even in states that adhere closely to the guidelines the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created to reopen America, as constraints to combat the virus are lifted there will “no doubt even under the best of circumstances” be an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) highlighted the issue of schools reopening in the fall. The senator questioned Fauci’s advice saying, “I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make a decision [regarding reopening]. We can listen to your advice, but there are people on the other side saying there’s not going to be a surge and that we can safely open the economy.” Fauci responded to the serious issue of kids missing school by suggesting that reopenings might vary by region. However, he noted that there was no easy solution to the problem.
All four witnesses at the hearing, Fauci, CDC Director Robert Redfield, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and Adm. Brett Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services testified remotely. The White House allowed an exception to the policy about officials not testifying remotely.
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