Fauci to Warn of ‘Needless Suffering and Death’ if States Open Too Soon

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Fauci to Warn of ‘Needless Suffering and Death’ if States Open Too Soon

Post by lennygoran » Tue May 12, 2020 6:10 am

Fauci to Warn of ‘Needless Suffering and Death’ if States Open Too Soon

The United States’ top infectious disease expert is expected to testify at a Senate hearing that moving too quickly to ease restrictions could undermine the country’s quest to return to normalcy.

The New York Times will be providing live coverage of the Senate hearing at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Here’s what you need to know:

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert and a central figure in the government’s response to the coronavirus, plans to deliver a frank warning to the Senate on Tuesday: Americans would experience “needless suffering and death” if the country opens up prematurely.

Dr. Fauci, who has emerged as perhaps the nation’s most respected voice during the worst public health crisis in a century, is one of four top government doctors scheduled to testify remotely at a high-profile — and highly unusual — hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He made his comments in an email to the New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg late Monday night.

“The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” he wrote. “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.”

It is a message starkly at odds with the “things are looking up” argument that President Trump has been trying to put out: that states are ready to reopen and the pandemic is under control.

In the Rose Garden earlier on Monday, Mr. Trump declared that “we have met the moment and we have prevailed,” though he later walked back the comments and said he only meant to say that the country had prevailed on increasing access to coronavirus testing — an assertion public health experts say is not true.

Dr. Fauci, who has served under Republican and Democratic presidents for more than three decades and who has worked to master the art of contradicting Mr. Trump without correcting him, echoed the language of Mr. Trump’s own plan, Opening Up America Again, which lays out guidelines for state officials to consider in reopening their economies.

But signs of opposition from parts of Mr. Trump’s party appeared almost immediately. Shortly after Dr. Fauci’s comments were published Monday night, Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, pushed back on Twitter, and invoked another top scientist: Dr. Deborah L. Birx, Mr. Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator.

“Dr. Fauci has continually used his bully pulpit to bring public criticism on governors who are seeking to open up their states,” Mr. Biggs wrote. “The Fauci-Birx team have replaced faith w/ fear & hope w/ despair. The remedy is to open up our society & our economy. Trust & respect our freedom.”
Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count

A detailed county map shows the extent of the coronavirus outbreak, with tables of the number of cases by county.
A Senate hearing via video, a White House staff in masks and a virus that continues to set the agenda.

In moments of great national crisis and controversy since the first Senate investigation in 1792, the congressional hearing has been an American tradition filled with familiar rituals. The witnesses sit face-to-face with lawmakers. The audience, sometimes populated with protesters, crowd into the gallery in anticipation. Photographers, journalists and lawyers all cram in shoulder-to-shoulder.

But when the nation’s top public health officials appear before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, there will be none of those familiar sights.

The panel’s Republican chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander, is quarantined at his Tennessee home after a member of his staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

And three of the top public health officials scheduled to testify — Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration — are all in some form of self-isolation after possible exposure to the virus at the White House.

Their testimony will be virtual and the questioning carried out over a video link.

The New York Times will have live coverage of the hearing, which C-SPAN will broadcast and the committee will stream on its website.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/us/c ... e=Homepage

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