Fauci to testify at a fraught time for US pandemic response
WASHINGTON (AP) - With coronavirus cases increasing in about half of the states and political polarization competing for public health recommendations, Dr. Anthony Fauci returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday at a difficult time in the country's pandemic response.
The government's leading infectious disease expert will testify before a House committee along with the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and a senior official from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Since Fauci's last appearance at a high-profile hearing more than a month ago, the US has emerged from weeks of home orders and business closings. But it is done in an uneven way, with some states being far less careful than others. A trio of states with republican governors who are optimistic about reopening - Arizona, Florida, and Texas - are among those who have seen worrying increases in some cases.
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence published an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal, saying that government efforts had strengthened the nation's ability to fight the virus and should be "a reason to celebrate".
Then, at his weekend rally in Tulsa, President Donald Trump said he had asked government officials to slow down the tests because there were too many positive cases. Many rallyers did not wear masks, and for some it was an act of defiance at what they see as government intervention. White House officials later tried to go back to Trump's comment for testing, suggesting that he should not be taken literally.
Fauci recently warned that the United States was still in the first wave of the pandemic and continued to urge the American public to practice social distancing. In a recent ABC News interview, he said political demonstrations such as protests against racial injustice were "risky" for everyone involved. When asked if this applies to Trump rallies, he said that this is the case. Fauci continues to recognize widespread testing as critical to detecting clusters of COVID-19 cases before they lead to complete outbreaks in a particular community.
According to Johns Hopkins University, about 2.3 million Americans have contracted the pandemic and around 120,000 have died.
As head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci will be approached by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, FDA chief Dr. Stephen Hahn and Adm. Brett Giroir, head of US Public Health, supports waitresses.
Giroir has been tapped by the White House to monitor the expansion of coronavirus testing. However, he became known after a whistleblower complaint alerted him that he had tried to promote a Trump-advertised malaria drug for the treatment of COVID-19 without conclusive scientific evidence. The FDA has since withdrawn its emergency approval for hydroxychloroquine.
"There have been many unfortunate missteps in the Trump administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic," said committee chairman Frank Pallone, DN.J. It is important that both government and Congress continue to focus on curbing the spread of the coronavirus and providing the resources and support that Americans need during this crisis. "
There is still no vaccine against COVID-19 and there are no treatments specifically developed for the disease, although the antiviral drug remdesivir has been shown to help some patients, as well as a steroid called dexamethasone and plasma from those who have recovered.
Fauci remains optimistic that a vaccine will be found and finds that patients develop antibodies to the virus - a sign that the human immune system is able to fight back. However, he shy away from promising results by the end of the year, as Trump did.
Among other things, the energy and trade committee has control over medicines and vaccines in the US healthcare system. Committee Democrats have sharply criticized the administration. However, not all Republicans have lined up to defend the White House. Some GOP members became increasingly concerned earlier in the year that the administration was not doing enough to prepare.
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