Dr. Fauci, others discuss the coronavirus response with the House Energy and Commerce Committee – watch live stream today

Dr Anthony Fauci He said he knows of no directive to curb testing for coronavirus, contradicting the comments of President Trump, who qualified the possibility of testing a “double-edged sword” and claimed that he ordered officials to reduce the amount of evidence.

A House committee will hear testimony Tuesday from Fauci and other top Trump administration officials who have been leading the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci, head of the National Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the country’s leading infectious disease experts, responded to Mr. Trump’s controversial comments during a rally in Oklahoma on Saturday, when he told a crowd that ” he said to my people, ‘Drop the test please.’ ” Mr trump bent about these observations on Tuesday.

Fauci said he had never been ordered to slow down the tests and did not know that other officials had been told to do so.

“As far as I know, none of us have been told to slow down the testing,” Fauci told the panel. “It is the opposite. We are going to do more tests, not less.”

Fauci said the country’s response to the pandemic was “mixed.” She praised the New York metropolitan area for seeing a decrease in cases, but expressed concern over an increase in cases in other regions.

“The next two weeks will be critical in addressing the waves we are seeing in Florida, Texas, Arizona” and other states, Fauci said. He also said the country needed to “establish a system” to respond to future outbreaks.

Fauci told the panel that the National Institutes of Health was “making a great effort” to collaborate with public and private partners to conduct vaccine trials “that harmonize with each other.” He said multiple vaccines are being developed, and that one vaccine would enter phase three testing in July.

“While the safety and efficacy of a vaccine can never be guaranteed at all until it is actually tested in the field, we are cautiously optimistic,” Fauci said. He expressed confidence that a vaccine could be ready by the end of this year or early 2021, saying “it is when and not if.”

Fauci also discussed some of the public confusion about the virus, since many people who contract it are asymptomatic. While he said this was “puzzling,” he urged people, and especially young people, not to become complacent.

The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 23, 2020.

KEVIN DIETSCH / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Fauci, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Brett Giroir, and Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield They appeared before the Chamber’s Commerce and Energy Committee on Tuesday. Hahn, Giroir and Redfield also confirmed that Trump had never told them to stop or slow down testing.

“Neither the president nor anyone in the administration has given instructions or suggested that we should do less testing,” said Giroir. “And we are proceeding just the opposite [direction]. We want to do more tests, of higher quality. “

Giroir said the United States is conducting around 500,000 tests per day, with the expectation that 40 to 50 million tests will be performed per month by the fall. Giroir also announced that the Morehouse School of Medicine would be awarded $ 40 million to research and address racial disparities in the spread of the pandemic.

Redfield said in its opening statement that the most effective methods to combat the pandemic continue to be social distancing, the use of face covers and hand washing. Fauci declined to comment on why Mr. Trump does not wear a mask in public, saying that “there are multiple factors that influence the president not wearing a mask.” However, he said he wore a mask to protect himself and others and to give an example of best practice.

Fauci said black Americans had been hit with a “double whammy,” since they were more likely to do essential jobs that exposed them to the virus and more likely to have underlying health conditions that made them more vulnerable. When asked if institutional racism was a factor, Fauci replied yes.

“Obviously, the African-American community has suffered racism for a very, very long period of time. And I can’t imagine that that hasn’t contributed to the underlying conditions they are in economically and otherwise,” Fauci said.

Redfield also expressed concern that a second wave of the coronavirus could coincide with the flu season.

“I encourage the American people to be prepared and accept flu vaccines with confidence,” Redfield told lawmakers. Giroir also said it was important for people to receive flu shots, and said it could prevent tens of thousands of deaths and coinfections with the coronavirus.

There was some tension between the interlocutors and the panel, particularly when speaking of Mr. Trump.

When asked by Republican Congressman David McKinley if he believed Trump was being treated by the media, Fauci said it was an “unfair question” and said that everyone in the White House “is doing everything possible to do what they need to” . what to do.”

McKinley also asked Fauci if he regretted not telling the President to recommend people to wear a mask earlier. “Okay, let’s play that game,” Fauci replied. He explained that he did not advise the public before due to the lack of masks for medical professionals.

Fauci also said he continued to work with the World Health Organization, despite Trump recently announcing his plans to withdraw the United States from the WHO.

“We at the operational level continue to interact with WHO in a very significant way,” said Fauci.

According to data collected by Johns Hopkins, more than 2.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus, the highest number of any country in the world. More than 120,000 Americans have died.

Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, he said Monday in a call with the governors that the media has “focused on the new number of cases”. He told them that “a percentage of that reflects extraordinary national success in testing and that we are identifying people.”

Since the Trump rally on Saturday, the The White House has faced a backlash on the president’s test comments. A senior White House official told CBS News that those comments were made “jokingly,” while Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told CBS News “Face the Nation” that “I think what heard from the president was frustration“On Monday, Pence called the president’s comment as “passing observation”.

However, when Weijia Jiang of CBS News asked Mr. Trump if he was joking when he made those comments, Mr. Trump replied, “I’m not joking.”