BY REBECCA KLAR
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said he plans to tell a Senate panel on Tuesday that there will be “needless” fatalities if the country reopens too soon amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate [Health, Labor and Pensions] committee … is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” Fauci wrote in an email to The New York Times.
“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,” he added.
In his email, Fauci referred to the White House guidelines for states to reopen nonessential businesses.
States across the country have started reopening, and in some cases states have not met the recommended requirement of having a 14-day downward trajectory in documented COVID-19 cases before starting gradual plans.
Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Saturday that four administration officials, including Fauci, would appear as witnesses at the hearing Tuesday via video conferencing.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir will also appear at the hearing.
The virus has infected more than 1.3 million people and killed 80,684 people in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.