Dr. Fauci, other top health officials, testify on how US can safely return to work and school


The latest:There have been more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.The U.S. death toll has surpassed 80,000 people, according to Hopkins.Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and members of the White House’s coronavirus task force, are testifying remotely at a Senate committee hearing about the coronavirus. Follow along below for live updates from the Senate hearing:NoonSen. Chris Murphy asked U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield about the CDC guidance on reopening states that was rejected by the Trump administration.The guidance provided more detailed suggestions beyond the reopening guidelines the administration had put forth last month, including specific suggestions for schools and churches. Redfield said the guidance was going through “interagency review” and could be posted online “soon.”11:45 a.m.Dr. Anthony Fauci warned against believing children are immune to coronavirus, citing new cases where some children have developed a mysterious inflammatory syndrome that could be linked to the virus.He stressed that experts are still learning about coronavirus.”We don’t know everything about this virus, and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children, because the more and more we learn, we’re seeing things about what this virus can do that we didn’t see from the studies in China or in Europe,” Fauci said.Fauci added: “I think we should be careful, if we’re not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.”Fauci added that in general, most children who develop coronavirus, “do much, much better than adults.””But I am very careful, and hopefully humble, in knowing that I don’t know everything about this disease and that’s why I’m very reserved in making broad predictions,” he said.11:30 a.m.Dr. Anthony Fauci said that, while the coronavirus will not simply “disappear” this fall, he hopes the threat of a possible second wave can be mitigated by aggressive testing efforts and health care preparedness.Sen. Bernie Sanders asked Fauci, who sits on the White House coronavirus task force, this:”Are we fearful that if we don’t get our act together, as bad as the situation is now, it could become worse in the fall or winter?”Fauci said he believes “that possibility does exist.””And the reason I say that is when you talk about ‘will this virus just disappear’ — and as I’ve said publicly many times, that is just not going to happen because it’s such a highly transmissible virus,” Fauci said. “And even if we get better control over the next several months, it’s likely there will be the virus somewhere on this planet that will eventually get back to us.”He added that it’s “entirely conceivable and possible” that a second wave will happen this fall.”I would hope that between now and then, given the capability of doing the testing that you heard from Admiral Giroir and the ability of us to stock up on personal protective equipment and the work force that the CDC under Dr. Redfield will be putting forth to be able to identify, isolate and contact trace — I hope that if we do have the threat of a second wave, we will be able to deal with it very effectively to prevent it from becoming an outbreak,” Fauci added.Fauci said many experts believe more people have died from coronavirus than have been reported.“Most of us feel that the number of deaths are likely higher than that number,” Fauci told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.“Given the situation, particularly in New York City — when they were really strapped with a very serious challenge to their health care system — that there may have been people who died at home who did have some COVID who are not counted as COVID because they never really got to the hospital,” Fauci continued.Fauci said he’s not sure “exactly what percent higher” the real death toll could be.”But almost certainly it’s higher,” he added.11:15 a.m.The 41 community-based drive-thru testing sites across the U.S., as prioritized by the CDC “have been a profound success,” according to Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.He said the sites have tested more than 167,000 high-risk individuals.More broadly, the U.S. has performed more than 9 million COVID-19 tests since March 12 — “a number far greater than any other country and double the per capita task performed to date in South Korea,” he said.Giroir also provided the current status on testing across the U.S. as well as projected some numbers for the coming month:The federal government is shipping 12.9 million swabs and over 9.7 million tubes of media to states in May alone.By the end of 2020, the federal government will procure over 135 million swabs and 132 million tubes of media and distribute these to states as requested. By September, taking every aspect of development, authorization, manufacturing and supply chain into consideration, the department projects that our administration will be capable of performing at least 40-50 million tests per month. 11 a.m.Sen. Lamar Alexander asked Dr. Anthony Fauci what he’d say to school officials who are trying persuade students to come back to campus.”Let’s look down the road three months. There will be about 5,000 campuses across the country trying to welcome 20 million college students,” Alexander said.Fauci said students might feel safest if there was a vaccine for coronavirus — but it’s a “bridge too far” to think a vaccine or treatment will be ready by the time classes start this fall.”If this were a situation where we had a vaccine, that would really be the end of that issue in a positive way,” Fauci said. “We don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term.”Dr. Brett Giroir, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the strategy for getting students back on campus is heavily dependent on how much community spread is happening in the fall.He said there would likely be a “surveillance strategy” for students going back to class. That would involve testing some students at different times “to give an assurance that there’s no circulation.”Fauci said there could be “really serious” consequences if states and areas reopen prematurely.Sen. Patty Murray asked what would happen if a community doesn’t follow guidelines from health experts on the phases of reopening.”The consequences could be really serious,” Fauci saidFauci added that there is “no doubt” that “even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation, you will see some cases appear.””It’s the ability and the capability of responding to those cases with good identification, isolation and contact tracing will determine whether you can continue to go forward as you try to reopen America,” he added.10:50 a.m.Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said his organization has issued multiple emergency authorizations for coronavirus tests, and they’re continuing to review them.He said the FDA is “monitoring the marketplace for fraudulent tests, and are taking appropriate action to protect the public health.”Hahn said officials are working to provide “more clarity” on which tests have been reviewed by the FDA. 10:45 a.m.Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the U.S. must have an extensive capacity to test for coronavirus before the country can lift certain restrictions.”Rapid, extensive and widely available, timely testing is essential to reopening America,” he said in his opening remarks to the senate committee.He also said contact tracing is “critical” because it can prevent some community transmission.10:30 a.m.Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health and an expert on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, said there are many possible vaccines being worked on — and researchers hope to develop more than one.”We have many candidates and hope to have multiple winners,” Fauci said, explaining that more vaccines will be good for global availability.”In other words, it’s multiple shots on goal,” Fauci said. 10:15 a.m.”What our country had done so far in testing is impressive but not nearly enough,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the committee, in his opening remarks.Reopening the country requires large-scale testing, he added.”In my opinion, this requires millions of new tests, many from new technologies. Some of these will fail, but we only need a few successes to get where we want to go,” Alexander said.As he noted his previous conversations around coronavirus treatments and vaccines with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sen. Alexander said that those are the ultimate solution, but until they are developed, all paths to reopening depend on testing.”All roads back to work and school go through testing. The more tests we conduct, the better we can identify those who are sick and exposed, and we can quarantine the sick and exposed instead of trying to quarantine the whole country,” the senator said.10 a.m.U.S. health experts representing the Trump administration, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have begun testifying before the Republican-led Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.The witnesses, who are all testifying remotely, will soon be sworn in. Here’s who will testify:Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of HealthDr. Robert Redfield, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDr. Brett Giroir, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesDr. Stephen Hahn, Food and Drug Administration The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The latest:

  • There have been more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
  • The U.S. death toll has surpassed 80,000 people, according to Hopkins.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and members of the White House’s coronavirus task force, are testifying remotely at a Senate committee hearing about the coronavirus.

Follow along below for live updates from the Senate hearing:

Noon

Sen. Chris Murphy asked U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield about the CDC guidance on reopening states that was rejected by the Trump administration.

The guidance provided more detailed suggestions beyond the reopening guidelines the administration had put forth last month, including specific suggestions for schools and churches.

Redfield said the guidance was going through “interagency review” and could be posted online “soon.”

11:45 a.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned against believing children are immune to coronavirus, citing new cases where some children have developed a mysterious inflammatory syndrome that could be linked to the virus.

He stressed that experts are still learning about coronavirus.

“We don’t know everything about this virus, and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children, because the more and more we learn, we’re seeing things about what this virus can do that we didn’t see from the studies in China or in Europe,” Fauci said.

Fauci added: “I think we should be careful, if we’re not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.”

Fauci added that in general, most children who develop coronavirus, “do much, much better than adults.”

“But I am very careful, and hopefully humble, in knowing that I don’t know everything about this disease and that’s why I’m very reserved in making broad predictions,” he said.

11:30 a.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that, while the coronavirus will not simply “disappear” this fall, he hopes the threat of a possible second wave can be mitigated by aggressive testing efforts and health care preparedness.

Sen. Bernie Sanders asked Fauci, who sits on the White House coronavirus task force, this:

“Are we fearful that if we don’t get our act together, as bad as the situation is now, it could become worse in the fall or winter?”

Fauci said he believes “that possibility does exist.”

“And the reason I say that is when you talk about ‘will this virus just disappear’ — and as I’ve said publicly many times, that is just not going to happen because it’s such a highly transmissible virus,” Fauci said. “And even if we get better control over the next several months, it’s likely there will be the virus somewhere on this planet that will eventually get back to us.”

He added that it’s “entirely conceivable and possible” that a second wave will happen this fall.

“I would hope that between now and then, given the capability of doing the testing that you heard from Admiral [Brett] Giroir and the ability of us to stock up on personal protective equipment and the work force that the CDC under Dr. [Robert] Redfield will be putting forth to be able to identify, isolate and contact trace — I hope that if we do have the threat of a second wave, we will be able to deal with it very effectively to prevent it from becoming an outbreak,” Fauci added.

Fauci said many experts believe more people have died from coronavirus than have been reported.

“Most of us feel that the number of deaths are likely higher than that number,” Fauci told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.

“Given the situation, particularly in New York City — when they were really strapped with a very serious challenge to their health care system — that there may have been people who died at home who did have some COVID who are not counted as COVID because they never really got to the hospital,” Fauci continued.

Fauci said he’s not sure “exactly what percent higher” the real death toll could be.

“But almost certainly it’s higher,” he added.

11:15 a.m.

The 41 community-based drive-thru testing sites across the U.S., as prioritized by the CDC “have been a profound success,” according to Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

He said the sites have tested more than 167,000 high-risk individuals.

More broadly, the U.S. has performed more than 9 million COVID-19 tests since March 12 — “a number far greater than any other country and double the per capita task performed to date in South Korea,” he said.

Giroir also provided the current status on testing across the U.S. as well as projected some numbers for the coming month:

  • The federal government is shipping 12.9 million swabs and over 9.7 million tubes of media to states in May alone.
  • By the end of 2020, the federal government will procure over 135 million swabs and 132 million tubes of media and distribute these to states as requested.
  • By September, taking every aspect of development, authorization, manufacturing and supply chain into consideration, the department projects that our administration will be capable of performing at least 40-50 million tests per month.

11 a.m.

Sen. Lamar Alexander asked Dr. Anthony Fauci what he’d say to school officials who are trying persuade students to come back to campus.

“Let’s look down the road three months. There will be about 5,000 campuses across the country trying to welcome 20 million college students,” Alexander said.

Fauci said students might feel safest if there was a vaccine for coronavirus — but it’s a “bridge too far” to think a vaccine or treatment will be ready by the time classes start this fall.

“If this were a situation where we had a vaccine, that would really be the end of that issue in a positive way,” Fauci said. “We don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term.”

Dr. Brett Giroir, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the strategy for getting students back on campus is heavily dependent on how much community spread is happening in the fall.

He said there would likely be a “surveillance strategy” for students going back to class. That would involve testing some students at different times “to give an assurance that there’s no circulation.”

Fauci said there could be “really serious” consequences if states and areas reopen prematurely.

Sen. Patty Murray asked what would happen if a community doesn’t follow guidelines from health experts on the phases of reopening.

“The consequences could be really serious,” Fauci said

Fauci added that there is “no doubt” that “even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation, you will see some cases appear.”

“It’s the ability and the capability of responding to those cases with good identification, isolation and contact tracing will determine whether you can continue to go forward as you try to reopen America,” he added.

10:50 a.m.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said his organization has issued multiple emergency authorizations for coronavirus tests, and they’re continuing to review them.

He said the FDA is “monitoring the marketplace for fraudulent tests, and are taking appropriate action to protect the public health.”

Hahn said officials are working to provide “more clarity” on which tests have been reviewed by the FDA.

10:45 a.m.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the U.S. must have an extensive capacity to test for coronavirus before the country can lift certain restrictions.

“Rapid, extensive and widely available, timely testing is essential to reopening America,” he said in his opening remarks to the senate committee.

He also said contact tracing is “critical” because it can prevent some community transmission.

10:30 a.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health and an expert on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, said there are many possible vaccines being worked on — and researchers hope to develop more than one.

“We have many candidates and hope to have multiple winners,” Fauci said, explaining that more vaccines will be good for global availability.

“In other words, it’s multiple shots on goal,” Fauci said.

10:15 a.m.

“What our country had done so far in testing is impressive but not nearly enough,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the committee, in his opening remarks.

Reopening the country requires large-scale testing, he added.

“In my opinion, this requires millions of new tests, many from new technologies. Some of these will fail, but we only need a few successes to get where we want to go,” Alexander said.

As he noted his previous conversations around coronavirus treatments and vaccines with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sen. Alexander said that those are the ultimate solution, but until they are developed, all paths to reopening depend on testing.

“All roads back to work and school go through testing. The more tests we conduct, the better we can identify those who are sick and exposed, and we can quarantine the sick and exposed instead of trying to quarantine the whole country,” the senator said.

10 a.m.

U.S. health experts representing the Trump administration, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have begun testifying before the Republican-led Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

The witnesses, who are all testifying remotely, will soon be sworn in. Here’s who will testify:

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Robert Redfield, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Brett Giroir, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Stephen Hahn, Food and Drug Administration

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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