Fauci: Reopening economy will lead to 'needless suffering and death'

Dr. Anthony Fauci will tell the Senate at 10am today that opening US economy too soon will lead to ‘needless suffering and death’

  • Fauci, and four other government doctors, will testify at Congress on Tuesday
  • He says his core point is ‘the danger of trying to open the country prematurely’
  • The infectious diseases experts said: ‘This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would set us back on our quest to return to normal’
  • States have started reopening, despite not meeting the ‘Open America Again’ checkpoints – the three phase White House plan to guide states in opening up

Dr Anthony Fauci will today warn Senators that opening the US economy too soon will lead to ‘needless suffering and death.’  

Fauci, America’s top infectious diseases expert, and four other senior government doctors will testify remotely before the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

In an email to the New York Times, Fauci said his main intention was to get across ‘the danger of trying to open the country prematurely.’

He added: ‘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.’ 

It will be Fauci’s first appearance before Congress – and it is a chance for him to address lawmakers and the public without Donald Trump at his side. 

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer has urged Fauci to ‘let it rip’ when he testifies, calling it an opportunity for the American people to hear ‘the unvarnished truth without the president lurking over his shoulder.’ 

Dr Anthony Fauci will today warn Senators that opening the US economy too soon will lead to ‘needless suffering and death.’

It will be Fauci’s first appearance before Congress – and it is a chance for him to address lawmakers and the public without President Trump by his side.

Schumer said yesterday: ‘Until now, we’ve mostly heard from the members of the coronavirus task force through the distorted lens of the White House press conference where the president often prevents them from answering fully, interrupts their response, or even contradicts their fact-based evidence.’

Fauci has been largely out of public view in the last week since the President put a pause on the coronavirus task force briefings.

The doctor has also been self-isolating after possible exposure to the disease. Fauci, 79, has tested negative but is working from home after Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller, wife of Trump aide Stephen Miller, tested positive for the virus on Friday.

In his comments, Fauci referred to a three-phase White House plan ‘Open America Again,’ which guides states wishing to reopen their economies.

The recommendations include that states should have a ‘downward trajectory of positive tests’ or ‘documented cases’ over a 14-day period.

States also need to conduct robust contact tracing, and ‘sentinel surveillance’ testing of asymptomatic people in vulnerable populations. 

Many states have started to reopen their economies without meeting the White House threshold.

It comes as the US has recorded more than 1.38 million infections and more than 81,000 deaths, while the worldwide the number is nearly 4.2 million infections and more than 285,000 deaths. 

‘We’re not reopening based on science,’ Dr Thomas R. Frieden, a former director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Times. ‘We’re reopening based on politics, ideology and public pressure. And I think it’s going to end badly.’ 

Experts have said that rather than a second wave striking in the fall, America could be seized upon by a series of wavelets – acute eruptions of the virus in communities throughout the country which will be impossible to predict. 

Trump’s efforts to project a confident front in setting out his ‘Open America Again’ strategy have been hampered by the virus hitting the West Wing. 

As well as Fauci, Dr Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, and Dr Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have both gone into two weeks of self-isolation.

Two White House staffers tested positive, Miller the Pence spokeswoman, and a US Navy officer serving as one of Trump’s valets.

The President was ‘spooked’ by one of his most personal staff – who serves him food without a mask on – having contracted the disease, a source told The Times. 

The Associated Press have reported that Trump is unwilling to wear a mask because it will ‘send the wrong message’ and impact his re-election chances. 

His son-in-law Jared Kushner told Fox News the United States had crossed 9.30 million virus tests, with more than 394,00 done on Monday.

The rise in infections has put pressure on efforts to boost testing capacity with health officials, including Fauci, having flagged the challenge of testing those in greatest need.

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