Dr Anthony Fauci testifying before the Senate
Photo from PBS News Hour/ Dr Anthony Fauci testifies before U.S. lawmakers on how to safely reopen schools and other public spaces via videoconference as he self-quarantines.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top health officials on Tuesday told U.S. lawmakers that the nation should be better equipped to distribute coronavirus testing in the coming months for schools to welcome their students in the fall. But Fauci warned that the consequences could be “really serious” before then if states fail to implement proper safeguards before reopening businesses and public spaces.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in a hearing on safely returning to work and school. Fauci, in addition to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and coronavirus testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir, emphasized the need for plans to test, track, and vaccinate Americans in coming months in an effort to phase in aspects of normal life.

“My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said of localities that open before a gradual 14-day decrease in new cases. “There is no doubt, even under the best of circumstances, even when you pull back on mitigation, you will see some cases appear.” However, he said, adequate testing and phased government responses should allow reopenings to continue moving forward. 

Giroir said community-based testing sites have been a “profound success” and that the nation should be equipped to distribute 40-50 million tests per month later this year. While Fauci said a vaccine will not be ready before students return to school, he and other health experts said testing could be used in a variety of ways to keep students safe.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT, said that the warning from Fauci and others was “infuriating,” noting that their advice to refrain from reopening too soon comes as President Donald Trump declares that the pandemic is under control. “You say the states shouldn’t open too early but then you don’t give us the resources to succeed,” Murphy said in reference to CDC reopening guidelines that were shelved last week. Following Redfield’s response that broader guidelines should be posted to the agency’s website soon, Murphy replied, “Soon isn’t very helpful.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, cited a lower death rate in his home state compared to a regular flu season as evidence for allowing states to reopen. “I hope that people who are predicting doom and gloom …. Will admit they’re wrong,” Rand said. “The history of this when we look back will be wrong prediction after wrong prediction after wrong prediction.”

MEDIA CONTRIBUTION

Five takeaways from Anthony Fauci’s and health officials’ testimony – Washington Post – 5/12/2020 Leading into Tuesday’s hearing, Fauci seemed to have a pointed message intended for the president and other advocates of a faster reopening. Fauci (tellingly) previewed his testimony late Monday night, cautioning strongly against an overly aggressive reopening plan and saying it could lead to “needless suffering and death.”

Rand Paul dings Fauci during testimony, tells him ‘you are not the end all’ – Fox News – 5/12/2020 Following up on Paul’s question about reopening schools come fall, Fauci said that there is still much that researchers don’t know about the novel coronavirus and the country should not be “cavalier” in reopening institutions too quickly. “We don’t know everything about this virus … especially when it comes to children,” Fauci said. “We ought to be careful and not cavalier.”

Fauci tells Congress U.S. coronavirus outbreak not yet under control – Reuters – 5/12/2020 “I think we’re going in the right direction, but the right direction does not mean we have by any means total control of this outbreak,” Fauci said during hours of testimony. He urged states to follow health experts’ recommendations to wait for signs including a declining number of new infections before reopening.

Not Heard at the Fauci Hearing: What If We Open Too Late? – The Rush Limbaugh Show – 5/12/2020 And for the Democrats, the only reason for this hearing today was to get Dr. Fauci up there to warn that the biggest mistake we could make is what Donald Trump is doing, trying to reopen country. Biggest mistake we could make. It will lead to needless suffering, will lead to needless deaths. We cannot open the schools in the fall and that’s why they wanted Dr. Fauci. And Dr. Fauci came through.

Fauci, Other Witnesses and Chairman Are Quarantined, but Hearing Must Go On – The New York Times – 5/11/2020 The session, in which the chairman and witnesses will appear by video, will be the first time Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert — and one of the few truth-tellers in the administration in the eyes of many Americans — appears before Congress since President Trump declared the coronavirus crisis a national emergency on March 13.

INFLUENCER CONTRIBUTION

Jim Acosta @Jim Acosta 12 May Sen. Paul to Fauci: “I don’t think you’re the end all.” Fauci: “I have never made myself out to be the end all.”

Jordan Schachtel @Jordan Schachtel 12 May What you saw in the hearing today was Dr Anthony Fauci prioritizing the protection of his personal reputation over the health of the nation. A man who refuses to admit to his catastrophic lapses in judgement. Simply put, he’s an egomaniacal sociopath who needs to be sidelined.

Dr. Lisa Welch for US House @Dr. Lisa Welch for US House 12 May Unfortunately after today’s senate hearing it wont matter what Fauci says. Trump & Pence have completely undermined any recommendations he has made from not wearing masks to encouraging riots. We are now in a world where “individual liberty” is more important than the common good

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