Dr. Anthony Fauci will warn the Senate that Americans will experience “needless suffering and death” if the country opens up too quickly.
According to The New York Times, Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, will be one of four top government doctors scheduled to testify remotely at a high-profile hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The hearing is a chance for Fauci to discuss the coronavirus outbreak without the Trump administration looming over him. Fauci told New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg what he intends to say.
“The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” Fauci wrote Monday. “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.”
Fauci was referring to the Trump administration’s Opening Up America Again plan that lays out guidelines for state officials considering reopening their economies.
The plan recommends states have a “downward trajectory of positive tests” or a “downward trajectory of documented cases” of coronavirus over a two week period. The plan adds states should be conducting robust contact tracing and “sentinel surveillance” testing of asymptomatic people in vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes.
Although many states planning to reopen are still seeing a rise in cases and deaths, the Trump administration is more concerned about the economy and the millions who are unemployed.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says politics, not health are guiding the openings.
“We’re not reopening based on science,” said Frieden. “We’re reopening based on politics, ideology, and public pressure. And I think it’s going to end badly.”
Fauci himself is currently in a “modified quarantine” after what he said was a “low risk” exposure to someone infected with the virus as it makes it way through the White House.