Eight Takeaways From Today’s Senate Coronavirus Response Hearing

8 mins read

1. Dr. Fauci: Opening too early will lead to new outbreaks and more death.

  • Dr. Fauci said“My concern [is] that if some areas, city, states, or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks”
  • Ahead of the hearing, Fauci also said that reopening states too early would cause “needless suffering and death” 

2. Dr. Fauci: Official coronavirus death count likely higher than report, contradicting Trump’s baseless claim deaths are being overreported. 

  • Dr. Fauci said of the death toll: “I think you are correct that the number is likely higher. I don’t know exactly the percent higher but almost certainly it’s higher.” 
  • Axios reported that Trump and some top aides have questioned the accuracy of the coronavirus death toll, believing the real number is lower than is being reported. 

3. Dr. Fauci disputed Trump’s claim that the virus would just “disappear” on its own.

  • Dr. Fauci said: “When you talk about ‘will this virus just disappear’ — and I’ve said publicly many times, that is just not gonna happen because it’s such a highly transmissible virus.”
  • May 8, 2020: Trump said of coronavirus: “But eventually it’s going to go away. The question is will we need a vaccine. At some point it’s going to probably go away by itself.” 
  • March 10, 2020: Trump said of coronavirus: “And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. and it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” 
  • February 28, 2020: Trump on coronavirus“It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

4. CDC head won’t give timeline on when guidelines to reopening will be released after they were suppressed by the Trump administration. 

  • When Senator Chris Murphy asked when the CDC would release more detailed guidelines on reopening schools and businesses, CDC Director Robert Redfield said “soon” but refused to provide a timeline.

5. Assistant Secretary for Health Promised 40-50 million tests per month in September, which is about 100 million fewer than Trump promised two weeks ago.

  • During the Senate coronavirus hearing, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir promised 40-50 million tests per month by September, which is about 100 million fewer than what President Trump promised when he promised 5 million tests would be performed a day. 
  • This is substantially fewer tests than the 5 million a day, or roughly 150 million tests per month, that Trump promised on April 28th he would begin conducting “very soon.”

6. Dr. Fauci says the coronavirus crisis is not under control. 

  • When asked if the pandemic is under control and contained, Fauci said: “If you think that we have it completely under control, we don’t … in other parts of the country [outside NY] we are seeing spikes.”
  • Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly insisted the coronavirus crisis is under control:
  • On January 22nd, Trump described the coronavirus as “one person coming in from China.” 
  • By February 7th, Trump began insisting that coronavirus would become weaker and disappear as the weather started to warm. 
  • On February 10th, Trump insisted that the U.S. only had 11 cases of coronavirus and “most of them are getting better very rapidly.” 
  • On February 26th, Trump wrongly claimed that coronavirus was like the regular flu and “we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.” 
  • On February 26th, Trump declared that the 15 cases in the United States would get to zero “within a couple of days.”
  • On February 28th, Trump insisted that “One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear” and suggested that coronavirus was Democrats’ “new hoax.” 
  • On March 2nd, Trump baselessly claimed that the World Health Organization’s estimate that the coronavirus had a 3.4% mortality rate was “really a false number.” 
  • On March 2nd, Trump wrongly claimed there would be a vaccine available within two months. 
  • Through March 10th, Trump continued to insist “Just stay calm. It will go away.” 
  • On March 15th, Trump claimed the U.S. had “tremendous control” of the virus.
  • On March 24th, Trump said it was possible the country would be open by Easter, April 12.
  • On April 22nd, Trump downplayed the threat of a second wave despite top medical experts warning of deadly reemergence of the virus in the winter.
  • On May 8th, Trump dismissed the importance of testing and claimed the virus would go away without a vaccine.  

7. Dr. Fauci said President Obama is not to blame for lack of a coronavirus vaccine, contradicting Trump’s inaccurate comments.

  • When asked by Senator Romney if “Obama is responsible for our lack of a vaccine,” Dr. Fauci said: “not at all”
  • Trump has repeatedly tried to blame the Obama administration for Trump’s own failures to respond to coronavirus.

8. Sen. Romney criticized Trump administration’s record on testing: “I find our testing record nothing to celebrate.”

  • Senator Romney pushed back on claims made by Admiral Giroir that attempted to compare the testing record of the Trump administration to the one of South Korea. 
  • South Korea was able to test 287,000 people eight weeks after its first confirmed coronavirus case. The United States had only reported testing 56,000 people in the same time frame.

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