Top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the U.S. Senate on Tuesday of the risks of reopening the country too soon during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that a premature opening of the nation’s economy could lead to additional outbreaks of the deadly coronavirus.
He urged states to follow health experts’ recommendations to wait for signs including a declining number of new infections before reopening.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on “getting back to work and school” and heard testimonies from CDC Director Robert Redfield, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Health Adm. Brett Giroir and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and Dr. Fauci.
Fauci clashed with Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday about when to reopen U.S. schools, acknowledging he did not have the final word on pandemic-related decisions but warning against being “cavalier” about the danger to children.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed U.S. health officials about whether a COVID-19 vaccine would be available for all Americans, regardless of their ability to pay, and asked for them to guarantee that poor and working people wouldn’t be the “last in line” to receive it.
The hearing comes as the U.S. recorded more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases.
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