Dr. Anthony Fauci is set to tell a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday that the U.S. risks “needless suffering and death” if states open up too soon, according to a new report.
“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country,” Fauci said in an email to The New York Times. “This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, will testify Tuesday before the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The hearing will mark the first time senators examine the effectiveness of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Democrats have been sharpening their knives.
“The fact of the matter is, President Trump has been more focused on fighting against the truth, than fighting this virus — and Americans have sadly paid the price,” Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the committee, plans to say Tuesday, according to excerpts of her opening statement.
“Since this Committee last heard from these witnesses on March 3rd, we have seen over 900 deaths in my home state of Washington, over 80,000 deaths nationally, and the numbers continue to climb,” Murray plans to say. “Still, President Trump is trying to ignore the facts, and ignore the experts who have been clear we are nowhere close to where we need to be to reopen safely.”
The guidelines released by the White House in mid-April set three phases of 14 days each in which to reopen busineses and schools, with a focus on stemming the spread of the virus.
In Phase One, healthy people can go back out in public but all should practice social distancing, avoid groups of more than 10, and try not to travel too far. Restaurants can reopen with social distancing but schools and bars would stay closed.
In Phase Two, schools and bars could reopen and gatherings of 50 or fewer can occur. Americans could also resume non-essential travel.
And in Phase Three, vulnerable people could resume public interactions and larger gatherings would be allowed.
While Fauci, who has been exposed to COVID-19 by infected staffers in the White House and has been undergoing a modified quarantine, will appear in person for the hearing, three of the witnesses and the committee’s chairman are set to appear remotely because they’re self-isolating after contact with individuals who tested positive for coronavirus.
Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) plans to use Tuesday’s hearing to detail White House efforts since the pandemic hit the U.S. But Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has been attacking Trump for years, hopes for a different scenario.
“Dr. Fauci, let it rip,” Schumer said in a statement Monday night.
“Dr. Fauci is a truth-teller, that’s his reputation. It seems he has sort of muted the truth some in the presence of the President … he has to tell the whole truth here,” Schumer told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” Tuesday morning.
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.