Anthony Fauci testifies about reopening America

Dr. Anthony Fauci director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks remotely during a virtual Senate hearing

Dr. Anthony Fauci director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks remotely during a virtual Senate hearing

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.is at 1.36 million and still climbing Tuesday, with the number of deaths passing 82,000.

There has been frequent speculation that Dr Fauci's forthright approach has irked President Trump, who has been accused of downplaying the dangers of the crisis as he pushes to restart the economy.

Fauci told members of a Senate committee that states should follow the Trump administration guidelines before reopening schools and businesses.

The recommendations include that states should have a "downward trajectory of positive tests" or "documented cases" over a 14-day period. States are also advised to establish a strong testing program for the virus and a tracing process to find people who come in contact with those known to be infected.

An investigation by The Associated Press found that numerous states that have reopened or plan to reopen soon did not meet the administration's guidelines. Also on the list: Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.

US Senators listen to Dr Anthony Fauci during the hearing in Washington. A preliminary ongoing count of coronavirus deaths by the CDC shows that between February 1 and May 6, four children under the age of 1 died of the coronavirus; two children between the ages of 1 and 4 died; four children between the ages of 5 and 14 died; and 48 people between the ages of 15 and 24 died.

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee led the hearing. Two of the four scheduled witnesses are self-quarantining amid worries about White House officials who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days.

Trump ends press briefing after clashing with reporters
Yamiche Alcindor, of PBS, tweeted that, "He called on me but I motioned for Kaitlin to ask her Q so Trump walked off". According to a leaked White House report, coronavirus rates are spiking in the heartland communities of America.

Alexander said as the hearing opened that "what our country has done so far in testing is impressive, but not almost enough".

Some states already have begun reopening their economies and others have announced plans to phase that in beginning in mid-May, even as opinion polls show most Americans are concerned about reopening too soon. On Monday, the president said that the USA "leads the world" after completing 9 million coronavirus tests. But experts note that number represents less than 3 percent of all Americans. California has the eighth highest number of deaths in the US with over 2,800 dead. The Kentucky Republican said Fauci was not the "end all" in knowledge about the coronavirus and it's "kind of ridiculous" to suggest children shouldn't go back to school - something Fauci never said.

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

Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Brett Giroir predicted some universities will adopt a "surveillance strategy", where different students are tested at different times to assure that the disease isn't present, and said it might be possible to test wastewater in particular areas to gauge the presence of infection.

Further, Fauci testified that the death toll is "likely higher" than the more than 80,000 people who have died as of Tuesday.

"I think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what's best for the economy, and as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don't think you're the end-all", Paul said. However, if the USA stocks up on personal protective equipment and ramps up its efforts to identify, isolate, and contact-trace COVID-19 patients, "I hope that if we do have the threat of a second wave, we will be able to deal with it very effectively".

The New York Times had earlier reported Fauci would warn the country would see "needless suffering and death" if it rushed too quickly to re-open, but the remarks did not eventually feature in his opening address.

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