Senate lawmakers hear testimony from top health experts on nation’s pandemic response

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Top health experts from the White House Coronavirus Task Force testified in front of the Senate Health Committee Tuesday regarding the nation’s response to the pandemic and efforts to reopen the economy.

During a mostly virtual hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health told Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, that COVID-19 is not under control.

“I think we’re going in the right direction, but the right direction does not mean, by any means, total control,” Fauci explained.

Fauci said states reopening too soon could have serious consequences.

“My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, expressed concern as to why federal health officials haven’t released guidelines on how states can safely reopen.

“I do anticipate this broader guidance to be posted on the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] website soon,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said.

Fauci said it will be at least another year before a vaccine is ready. He also warned that there’s no guarantee that it will be effective.

“The big unknown is efficacy,” Fauci said. “Will it be present or absent, and how durable will it be?”

Many senators say until the vaccine is ready, testing is key.

“All roads back to work and school go through testing,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said. “The more tests we conduct, the better we can identify those who are sick and exposed.”

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