The United States continues to lead the world in COVID-19 infections, with researchers at Johns Hopkins recording 1,894 deaths from the disease in just 24 hours Tuesday — a sharp increase from earlier this week. The official U.S. death toll now stands at over 82,300. On Capitol Hill, the nation’s top infectious disease experts told a Senate committee Tuesday that needless death and suffering would result if states reopen their economies too soon. This is Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: “There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control, which, in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery.”
Dr. Fauci acknowledged the true U.S. death toll is “almost certainly” higher than the official count. He also dismissed the idea that a vaccine would be available in time for children to return to classes in the fall, and questioned whether any vaccine will eventually prove effective against the coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci joined Tuesday’s Senate hearing remotely, as did CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and Assistant Health Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir. Several senators also appeared by video link, including Republican committee chair Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is self-quarantining after a member of his staff tested positive for coronavirus. Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky — the first senator known to test positive for the virus — appeared in person and did not wear a mask.
On Tuesday, NBC News published an unreleased White House report showing a surge of coronavirus cases in heartland U.S. communities. Topping the list was Central City, Kentucky. Other hot spots include Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; and Amarillo, Texas. The leaked May 7 coronavirus task force report contradicts this claim made by President Trump on Monday.
President Donald Trump: “All throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly.”