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tv   CDC Director Surgeon General Others Testify on COVID Response  CSPAN  April 1, 2022 6:48am-8:18am EDT

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related to the pandemic. this runs an hour and a half. chair clyburn: without objection the clear is does designated to declare recess of the committee and time. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. this is a hearing of the select
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subcommittee on the coronavirus cut crisis. when we were established with the same in april 2020, we were experiencing the worst public health crisis since the 1918 flu pandemic. we were experiencing the worst economic crisis since the great depression. today, while there is still significant oversight of the response to the crisis for the subcommittee to conduct, the crisis -- as biden declared in his state of the union address, the coronavirus may no longer control our lives. this statement is based on sound science.
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recent recommendations provide mitigation measures such as mask mandates are not needed and counties with low or medium covid-19 community levels. based on this recommendation, mass mandates are currently not needed in counties were more than 99% of americans live. across the country, schools are open, businesses are thriving in the american people are safely going about their pre-pandemic lives. make no mistake, we did not move beyond the crisis by chance. our success as a result of the policy decisions and decisive
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leadership of the biden administration. and if congress fails to provide the administration the resources needed to continue to combat the virus, we increase the risk that we will return to crisis. i look forward to hearing from the cdc administration officials today about our success in getting to this point and how we can build on this success moving forward. as you begin this discussion, it is essential that we take stock of how we got here. within days, of taking office, president biden rescued a campaign that had been chaotic floundering -- vaccination campaign that had been chaotic floundering under the previous administration. the biden rescue plan provided
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the necessary resources to take this to every community in our country, including the most underserved and overlooked. even in the face of obstinacy, the campaign has been a solid success. as this chart reflects, more than 217 million americans are fully vaccinated. according to a recent study, this is presented -- prevented more than 10 million hospitalizations and save more than one million lives. thanks to the action by the
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administration, including the distribution of vaccines to community health centers, help close the racial gaps, the benefits of vaccination have been shared equitably. the american rescue plan also enabled the biden administration to provide schools resources they needed to stay open safely, to make treatments available for free, and to launch a program that sent millions of masks to american households. this enabled us to safely emerge from the crisis phase of the pandemic. coronavirus vaccinated stations
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-- large-scale interventions are not needed. just because we've moved beyond the crisis doesn't mean we will stay beyond the crisis. earlier this month, president biden released his covid 19 preparedness grant plan, a comprehensive strategy to prepare for new variants, and ensure schools and businesses stay open safely and continue to lead the global vaccination efforts. this plan is not self-executing. congress must provide resources for its implementation. if congress does not act swiftly, we risk losing valuable
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tools that have allowed us to get beyond the crisis. losing these tools would increase the risk of the crisis returning. as you can see, if congress does not act, the federal government will no longer be able to make monoclonal antibody treatments available for free. we risk losing our capacity demand, leaving us vulnerable to new variants, and may drive more infections. if additional booster shots are needed for everyone, we would not be able to secure enough doses, and the administration
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would be forced to scale back -- the administration will be forced to scale back its purchase of coronavirus treatments for our most vulnerable citizens. these are just some of the disastrous consequences of inaction. i reiterate what i said earlier this month, to my colleagues concerned about the cost, when it comes to covid crisis, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. i want to thank our witnesses for testifying today. i particularly want to thank you
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for allowing us to reschedule the hearing to accommodate congressman don young's memorial service yesterday. while we were looking forward to looking -- seeing you in person, we are fortunate to have the ability to hear from you virtually. i look forward to hearing more about the new face of the pandemic, the biden administration's covid-19 preparedness plan and how america will be impacted if we do not receive the necessary funding. thank you, i will yield to the ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate you having this hearing. i'm glad the administration officials are here to testify at
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this public hearing before the subcommittee. it has been a while since we had this kind of testimony. i appreciate you joining us. i would like to note that we also invited dr. anthony fauci, and the director of the national institute of infectious diseases, regrettably, he sent this letter that he was unable to attend because he would need to be invited by the chairman, with permission from the biden administration. hopefully you will invite dr. fauci. i think we all went to hear from him. it has been 309 days since we heard dr. fauci testify before any committee in the house. i don't know what -- if speaker pelosi is trying to silence dr. fauci. he is not allowed to come. i think he should be part of this hearing. i hope we rectify that soon.
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it is important to hear from the witnesses today about the current state of covid and planning for the future. i think we need to address the elephant in the room. the public has lost a lot of trust in public health officials in the last two years. we have seen the states, power grabbing, and political interference with the science during this last year and a half. i hope the witnesses will address the following issues directly today. there is a long list of controversies that the american public looking for answers from. i would like to name a few of them. i hope we can have the witnesses address them in their remarks or questions. first, it was uncovered that there was direct political interference with cdc's cool reopening guidance from the 2,020 one report. president biden's cdc discarded historical practice to allow a radical teachers union it so
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happens to be a major supporter of democrats to bypass agency norms and directly change official cdc guidance. damaging edits thousands of schools shuttered across the country which locked millions of children out of their classrooms. the biden administration abandoned medical science and replaced it with political science and by the way gave unprecedented vip access to one of their largest supporters harming millions of children in the process. mr. chairman, a lot of this was documented through the testimony we received and house republicans put together a summary of this in a report we released. i would like to ask unanimous consent to include this report in the record and we provided
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you with a copy. >> permission granted. >> thank you. roughly $200 billion in taxpayer money was spent with the intention of safely reopening schools yet many remained closed even after they took taxpayer money. students have suffered severe learning loss and emotional and social problems. i hope rochelle walensky will address the scandal we have outlined and provide answers for us today on the allegations made especially as it relates to the unprecedented actions that union bosses were able to get to make major edits to a cdc guidance weeks before it was released to the public. the list goes on and on. the cdc recommended little kids wear masks all day indoor and out for almost two years.
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they did this without any reliable scientific evidence of masking effectiveness in toddlers. action the cause develop mental delays for millions of children in hearings before this committee we had testimony that identified and talked about the concerns to children from this last few years. in 2021 cdc recommended kids at summer camp wear masks even when outdoors even though we all knew that outdoor covid transmission was unlikely, among children we saw those numbers. after a long torturous two years of masking guidance the cdc changed its metrics allowing most of the country to take masks off. this change happened to coincide with the memo from president biden's pollster, people are fed up with covid restrictions like masks.
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not following the science, following the political science, the pollster to the president came out with this data that the public is fed up with this approach. why weren't these metrics used all along? i hope the witnesses will explain that today. it is reported by the new york times that the cdc failed to publish essential information about covid 19 hospitalizations. at least in part, to control the narrative around vaccine effectiveness. reports that the cdc collected data on vaccine and booster shot effectiveness and breakthrough infections and wastewater analysis but delayed release and released only small portions of the data and in some cases none at all. states and localities could have used the data to better
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inform their efforts to mitigate the virus's spread in their area. cdc spokesman kristin lordland said they are slow to release the data they collected because, quote, basically at the end of the day it is not ready for prime time. and they feared the information might be misrepresented. let the science be put out transparently and let everybody explain. if it is hard to explain may be other decisions should have been made but people should have been given access to that data. that is why the majority of americans do not trust the cdc and what they said about covid. what happened to the transparency we were promised by president biden? it was recently revealed the cdc was publishing inaccurate data. and adjustment was made to the data tracker's mortality data?
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march 15th involved the removal of 72,277 deaths including 416 pediatric debts reducing the number of pediatric deaths from covid 19 by 24%. that is what it was. cdc's algorithm was accidentally counting deaths that were not covid 19 related. children were dying at an increased rate during the oma cron surge. what decisions were made about this inaccurate data. who is held accountable for the mistake. it is a very costly mistake.
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the controversy over the in action with the rejection of a plan to provide rapid tests in time for the christmas holiday. we tried to endure the alienation of the unvaccinated instead of focusing on science driven approach that include vaccination and natural immunity. undermining trust in the vaccine, and the unlawful vaccine mandate on employees of private businesses, on the supreme court. this further increased vaccine hesitancy. the biden administration has been sidelining the science on boosters. in summer of 2,020 one the biden administration announced availability of booster shots to all adults by september 2021 but amazingly they made this announcement before the fda and
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cdc finished reviewing the data to determine the need for booster shots. because of this, two senior fda officials actually left the agency amid alarming reports of political interference with the science by the biden administration. this was confusing for the public fueling their continued distrust in public health guidance. republicans on the to hold a hearing on the origins of covid 19. for whatever reason democrats in washington still refuse to have a hearing on the origin. for us was funding risky gain of function research in china, taxpayers should know about that and we should have a debate and discussion about whether this should be -- we should be funding this kind of controversial research in the united states or in another country. unredacted emails show doctors
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fauci and collins were warned covid 19 came from that lab in february 2020 yet worked to stifle any hypothesis that the virus could have been started in a lab. how much time was lost? how many lives were lost telling people something is a conspiracy when it turned out to be true? the witnesses will address these issues today. i know the american public is looking for answers and once the transparency they were promised, they haven't gotten from the biden administration. with that i yield back to testimony from our witnesses. >> thank you very much. let me address or at least respond to the ranking member's expression of displeasure that doctor fauci is not with us today. it is very clear that there have been several political
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attacks made against doctor fauci. in a meeting to continue the progress we made and give notice of this hearing. it is my understanding that the minority was made aware who are intended witnesses were going to be but no request was made of me to invite doctor fauci. i did see the public letter that was sent to doctor fauci, not to me or to doctor fauci and it did not allow us the two weeks we usually grant administration people to prepare for a hearing and
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therefore that is the reason we did not move forward. >> if i may, we did ask doctor fauci weeks ago as normal practice, the majority has the majority of witnesses but we have an opportunity to invite a witness, we don't have to check with the majority but we asked doctor fauci to be our witness, he said in his response and i will make sure you get a response, that he is willing to testify, he didn't have a problem coming to testify, he just said he needs to have the chairman -- he is saying -- we would appreciate that opportunity and i will get you a copy of that letter as well. >> mr. chairman? >> yes? >> did utah -- your comments, did you tell doctor fauci you
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didn't want him to come today? >> no. i've not talked to doctor fauci. what are you talking about you q >> in his letter he said unless you invite him, unless you invite him and the administration gives an okay he's not allowed to come even though he said he looks forward and is willing to come any time to testify in front of congress. >> you saw than a letter from me? >> no, from doctor fauci. >> i have not seen that letter. the ranking member says he will give a copy of the letter to me and when he does i will respond. >> i'm always willing to testify at the request of the committee chair and the administration, two things can keep you from coming, you didn't ask him? >> no i did not ask him to come. i asked the people that are
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here today, i didn't think we needed it. he's been here three times already so i didn't ask him to come. >> did you get tell him not to come? >> he hasn't been here in almost a year, we asked him to come. did you tell him not to come and someone the in administration tells him not to come. >> you asked him to come and he responded to you. if he wanted me to ask him all you have to do is ask me. >> he could have just come. all right. i yield back. >> he could have. let me get on with the institution of our distinguished witnesses today. first, i want to welcome doctor rochelle walensky, of the centers for disease control and prevention, no stranger to
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members of the subcommittee and we appreciateer lrship in the cdc the past 14 months. thank you for being with us again. next i want to welcome the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, dawn o'connell who leads the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering emergencies including the coronavirus pandemic. welcome, assistant secretary o'connell. finally i want to welcome doctor vivek murphy. the surgeon general of the united states. 's mission includes providing clear consistent and equitable
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public health guidance and resources to the american people with a particular focus on combating health misinformation and other issues. welcome, doctor. will the witnesses please raise their right hands? do you swear or affirm the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? let the record show the witnesses answered in the affirmative. without objection your witness statement will be made part of the record. rochelle walensky recognize for opening statement. >> good afternoon, members of the house subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis.
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i want to give my condolences for the loss of your colleague representative young who worked tirelessly representing constituents and as a public health professional i want to acknowledge his great leadership. it has been two years since we were admitted and support from congress in collaboration with partner agencies, we've made incredible strides in providing the american public with the knowledge necessary to combat the virus. 52 million people receive the covid 19, providing cortical protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death. by which data are collected, we receive over 11,000 healthcare reporting this automatically with data.
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and capacity to identify variants to quickly and effectively monitor changes in this virus to make lifesaving decisions. despite these strides rising hospitalizations and deaths reminded us these variants can rapidly change our situation. omicron infection may be less severe and widespread vaccination, provided protection against this variant, the sheer volume of people seeking hospitalization for alpha and delta services we must work to stay ahead of this virus by amplifying bipartisan messaging on the importance of vaccination and research to save lives. cdc is committed to increased risk for disease, the savings to protect themselves and just
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yesterday following regulatory actions the cdc updated recommendations to allow certain populations the options for an additional booster to increase protections against severe disease. as we think about the last days of the virus, we have to assess which metrics are most helpful to track disease to support future decisions. a few weeks ago cdc released a new framework for measuring and monitoring the risk covid 19 poses to communities. this framework focuses on prevention efforts on testing people at high risk for severe disease minimizing across the population and preventing hospitals and healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed. cdc also recently unveiled surveillance data. we are tracking 750 testing sites across 639 communities and we will increase to more
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than 800 testing sites. this information empowers local and state health officials to test increases in circulating the virus in the community several days before traditional signals like surveillance and hospitalization. in addition, we at cdc in still data sharing capabilities in states, providers, other healthcare partners and the public. we invest in platforms like public data trackers where cdc shares unprecedented amount of data each day pooled from 50 data ports and we do this through efforts like cdc and modernization initiatives for the capability of public health partners but we need to work with congress on a bipartisan effort to modernize to support
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standardized data collection and rapid sharing of data in a way americans expect during and after the pandemic. the cdc was able to leverage temporary authority during the pandemic for covid related data and we run the risk of losing the improvements to expand on them for other data. there is a roadmap to guide us to be more prepared to invest in could a clinician to. progress made during the pandemic by supporting sustainable infrastructure and investing $28 billion over the next 5 years for domestic and global pandemic preparedness. taken together these investments will bolster
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infrastructure and authority and to address the long-standing levels of domestic public health challenges that left our country vulnerable to this pandemic. thank you. >> thank you very much. we will now hear from assistant secretary dawn o'connell recognize for five minutes. >> it is an honor to testify on efforts to respond to the covid 19 pandemic but let me join rochelle walensky in offering my condolences on congressman young. i worked in the house for 15 years with many of you and he will be sorely missed. turning to the pandemic. over the last 15 months as a country we made trauma this progress. we have the tools we need to test treatments to keep people safe.
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thanks to collaboration across dhs and private industry, and free vaccines to 90,000 vaccinations to 217 million people. vaccines remain, we have an array of therapeutics to treat those who become infected. we have antiviral treatments for free on a weekly basis. we are locate monoclonal antibody infrastructure, vaccines are not recommended that allocate that for free on a monthly basis. we recently launched a nationwide test initiative that gives individuals an
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opportunity to access treatments at 2000 pharmacy based clinics, qualified health centers and long-term care facilities. under this program people get tested and if they are positive treatments are appropriate for the receive prescription from a healthcare provider and have it filled all in one location. this is important because antivirals work best within 5 days of onset. testing continues to be a vital part of the diagnosis connecting patients to treatment and keeping businesses and schools open. the increasing testing supply availability and affordability, january 2021, december 2021. i recently visited a test manufacturing facility in illinois, on the production floor and to see the manufacturing process up close.
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the advances we've made are reflective of a broader effort to bolster domestic manufacturing of critical medical supplies, expand industrial base and secure public health sidechains. in addition to increasing commercial availability of tests and manufacturing at the direction of president biden we secured 900 million of the 1 billion at home tests promised for free to the american people and in process during the remaining ones. in partnership with the postal service, we delivered at home tests to 70 million american households. we know that masks are useful in some situations. in january the president directed high quality american-made masks available to the american people for free.
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today the strategic national stockpile has shifted 250 million masks to community health centers nationwide. this effort represents the largest appointment of personal protective equipment, and we tripled the number of and 95s and finally in addition to vaccines, provided on the ground support, since july '93 national disasters, nearly 1100 team members have deployed 226 states and the commonwealth, to support a range of functions for decompression setting up medical overflow centers. as we move forward and prepare new surges we make resources available to help states and
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communities, we are not better position to respond than we were a year ago. a big reason is congress on a bipartisan basis provided the resources needed to make sure americans had free widely available -- i want to thank you for your support and partnership and look forward to working with you as we respond to the covid 19 pandemic. i'm happy to answer any more questions. >> mr. secretary o'connell. for five minutes. >> members of the committee thank you for allowing me the privilege of speaking with you today. in the last year we
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collectively harnessed unparalleled operational capacity to make progress in the fight against covid 19 and develop the tools necessary to keep people safe including vaccines, boosters and antiviral treatments. and these tools on a massive scale with high quality masks available to millions of people in america. we've not relegated it to the history books but the bottom line is today as a country we are in better position to address covid than any point in the pandemic. it no longer defines our lives. the question is whether to keep this progress and build on it. the health of our families over the coming months and years. through the public health, extensive and dangerous health information.
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whether an individual can make a fully informed decision. it has robbed people to make a fully informed decision and the last two years we felt human costs. our ability to can chain this pandemic will suffer. the societal pluralization and misinformation will be there exacerbated and risk the well-being of more families, communities and disproportionately affected people everywhere. i believe we can make change happen, highlighting the urgency of the crisis and what it will take to address it and it will take all of us. this provides actionable recommendations for every sector. the government can support
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community organizations and other trusted messengers to present the spread of misinformation and fund research to better understand the nature of the problem and use the extent of its powers to create a healthy information environment. clinicians including doctors and nurses can expand their work to address misinformation with patients and communities. educators complain about providing people tools for digital health leaders with journalistic media outlets to inform the public without amplifying misinformation, providing context using a range of credible sources and avoiding sensationalism. technology companies need to take responsibility for the unprecedented volume of misinformation on their sites, these companies can start by sharing data transparently with independent researchers and the public so all of us can understand how misinformation is spreading online. we must raise personal bars for
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what we share online and off-line, we have a moral responsibility to be honest, fair, and accountable. we look forward to discussing these possibilities. and where the line is drawn between preventing the spread of misinformation and censorship. we are a country that prides itself on defending bedrock values including freedom of speech. the values we cherish have drawn generations of immigrants like my parents to this country. in our society where individual actions affect one another we must also set rules for the common good, rules that respect and reflect our fundamental values. that is why we banned tobacco ads the targeted kids and mandated warning labels of tobacco products so the face of powerful economic forces denying the dangers of tobacco and promoting use of an addictive substance, the ability to make a fully informed decision about their
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health was protected. president reagan and one of my predecessors understood when we don't have honest accurate information and lose the freedom to make the best decision for our health, with the result of action decade later are an unparalleled success story copied the world over. we have the opportunity to do it as we protect the gains we made against covid and prepare for what is ahead, the tools that support and the information necessary to keep themselves safe. i look forward to your questions. >> mister chairman, may i be recognized? >> yes you may. >> i would like to be recognized for unanimous consent to enter into the record and analysis released by the select subcommittee. the report my colleagues across the aisle have introduced is
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riddled with miss -- cherry pick statements and falsely suggests the cdc was pressured by teachers unions to keep schools closed. here is the truth. the republicans try to falsely equate biden administration stewardship with trump administration corruption. it is not in any way unusual or improper for the cdc to engage with stakeholders about how guidelines will be implement did. to keep schools closed, the reality is exactly the opposite. today under the biden administration at leadership virtually every school is open. yesterday i heard 99.9% of schools are open and operating in person safely. even donald trump's former cdc director, doctor robert redfield said that he's, quote, very happy with the current trends in the biden
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administration in keeping schools open safely. hearing input from teachers on how to best achieve this is not improper. they routinely apply pressure to career sciences to impact public health guidance for political reasons. i have in my hand a select subcommittee staff analysis the documented 88 separate instances of the trump administration's political interference in the pandemic including repeated the bullying our nation's scientists and making decisions that allowed the virus to spread more rapidly. let's talk about one example highlighted in this report. multiple witnesses including doctor deborah said that cdc testing guidelines were august - specific to reduce the amount of testing being conducted. at a time when no vaccines and few treatment were available. think about that. why did the trump
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administration do this? not because it was sound scientifically but because they thought the high number of cases was making them look bad politically. it is important for the hearing record to reflect what actual improper political interference looks like so i ask unanimous consent that this analysis be entered. >> without objection. >> thank you. >> members now have five minutes in which to ask questions. let me begin with a question. direct this to rochelle walensky. in your opening statement the overall risk for severe disease is generally lower.
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and that the virus will circulate asked in our communities. can you elaborate on the level of risk posed now by the virus to those who are up to date on their vaccinations and those who are not and what americans should do, they continue to remain low. >> happy to do so. let's talk about where we are with the oma crime variant, in the middle of january every single day. we know specifically about this, cron variant in contrast to delta and alpha, it is more transmissible and less severe disease. with vaccine status and booster
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status, less hospitalizations and less stats correcting for all those things. because of vaccines and because of protection for prior disease, 95% of people in this country have some level of protection against covid. we don't know how durable or long-lasting but most people have some level of protection. get your primary care and booster shots, that is so essential. we've seen what the oma crime variant, you need higher levels of immunity to combat, cron. vaccines may not work as well against infection but are still working quite well against severe disease, against hospitalization and against death. what we've seen in the most recent data against the oma
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cron variant is if you are boosted with for the third booster shot, your 21 times less likely to die of oma cron as you are if you are unvaccinated. oma cron is less severe but much more infectious, we've seen many more cases. at the population level we have a lot of immunity. any given individual, very clear we need that booster shot because high levels of protection to combat that. >> can you give us more about the current status of the ba 2 sub variant. >> ba 2, lineage of oma cron, what we hear to date is ba one. what we know about ba 2 and
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have known since january, in the united states, it is more transmissible. we have seen over time it is increasingly more prevalent in the united states, 55% are related to ba 2. we've seen data from other countries which is a reason for optimism, if we had ba one, less likely to get it. we also know that ba 2 does not cause more severe disease, nor does it look like it obeys our immunity anymore than ba one. we are watching this carefully and continue to have low levels
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of disease, 20,000 cases a day but higher proportion is related to ba 2. >> thank you very much. as members no, we are having 5-minute ropes. i don't see any republicans on the stand or in the room. the chair recognizes mrs. maloney for five minutes. >> thank you to our panelists. the biden administration's vaccination campaign has been essential to the progress our country has made in combating the coronavirus which under president biden's leadership, 215 million americans have been fully vaccinated, one hundred million have received booster shots. this has provided significant protection against severe illness and saved lives.
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how impactful has the biden administration's vaccination campaign been in helping our nation overcome the crisis and move forward safely? >> thank you for that question. i do believe this has been one of the successes of the covid response we should feel good about. we've been able to develop, produce and distribute vaccines at a scale that is truly historic for the country and the impact of that has been literally lifesaving, 200 million plus people who have been vaccinated in the united states, saved during the vaccination campaign of the past year over 1 million lives and prevented over 10 million hospitalizations and i will tell you as someone who has lost family members to covid 19 and had friends hospitalized with this virus i would have given anything to have a vaccine available when my
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family member got sick but that wasn't the case. the fact we have one now stands as one of the great scientific tests of our time. it is a victory for the community. what made this possible was not just government but partnerships with organizations across america, students knocking on doors, moms dads and faith leaders talking to their communities to get information about these vaccines. we've got more work to do. millions of brothers and sisters in america who are not vaccinated, who don't have the protection we want for everyone. we are not giving up, doing everything we can to get accurate information about the vaccine so they can get the protection every american deserves. >> thanks to this progress 99% of americans live in areas where masks are currently not recommended under the cdc.
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the cdc's updated framework reflects reality. the overall risk of severe disease, thanks to vaccinations and booster shots and treatments to rapid testing and improved ventilation we made great progress. how does the updated framework reflect where the country is today in terms of the overall risk posed by the virus. >> we released the new community levels for the reason you know. so much disease with oma cron and the context of a lot of population for boosters, and the updated framework reflects
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severe disease. these metrics to reflect the ability for people to be protected and have the capacity to get 1/5 booster shot. to wear a mask when they see fit. these community levels are reflected and updated, when we look at how these metrics perform, they were performed quite well. predicting where we could be or twee 6 weeks from now. >> the cdc framework designed to be flexible signaling policymakers to continue relaxing the program, and would
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dial it up. can you elaborate on how communities, when to dial up mitigation measures up or down? >> one thing that has been clear through this pandemic is the curveballs. we need to be ready to dial things up should we get another of those curveballs. we said we want to relax negation strategies when things are going well and have the capacity to put them on again if we see challenges with hospital capacity and hospitalizations, exactly what the community metrics do, the metrics are intended at the county level. metrics -- following locally and in real time and update these metrics when we see trends should we need them.
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>> my time is expired and we've been called to another vote. >> the chair recognizes miss maliotokis for five minutes. >> thank you for having this hearing today, the inconsistency we are hearing from the federal, state and local level. i think it has been the double standard put in place that have been stressful and for my constituents, infuriating quite frankly. just recently our mayor announced if you are a baseball star a basketball star or performer you don't need a vaccine to continue doing your job yet 1500 city workers, firefighters, police officers, teachers, fired for failing to comply with the vaccine mandate. i would love to hear rochelle walensky's opinion on what
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science was my mayor using in saying if you are brooklyn met you don't need the vaccination but if you are a new york city firefighter you do. is there science that was being followed their? >> thank you, congressman. cdc provides guidance at the national level, the recommendations are intended to be useful and in places like new york city and montana, we have recommended strongly vaccines and booster shots demonstrating boosters are working, data demonstrates if you are vaccinated and booster you have 20 one% less likelihood of death compared if you are in vaccinated. in the context of science we always said we are very deferential to political leaders locally so finding guidance for what is happening
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locally, this is quickly important because this disease, what is happening with the disease in your jurisdiction, as we have provided high-level guidance and recommendations, it is intended to be applied to local leaders for how those policy issues are made. >> shouldn't there be consistency? why is the brooklyn nets player, before it was if you are a fan in the stadium unit to be vaccinated but if playing on the court you do need to be vaccinated. now we are seeing if you' re an athlete or performer you don't need to be vaccinated but if you are new york city first responder you do. don't you think it is important that municipalities have consistency here? isn't it wrong that people are losing their livelihoods if they choose not to be mandated in light of the new decision by our mayor? >> i can't speak for mayor's decisions. what i can say is the cdc recommendations and guidance is
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to get vaccinated and boosted. we know that vaccines are saving lives. we recommend it. >> what is the cdc guidance related dates for public school students across the country? >> does not apply any mandates, the cdc for all vaccinations, children as well, we don't have mandates, we have guidance. what we do do is those policies on the cdc website, transparent where those policies are. >> lastly what is the administration telling you? there is a push for the covid relief package and my concern is there have been billions of dollars in fraud in the paycheck protection program and unemployment insurance as part
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of the chairman's memo regarding this meeting that part of the topic was going to be programs for economic development, at cdc, not necessarily administering these programs but have you had conversations about how to ensure this money that was fraudulently taken by taxpayers is returned to the treasury? i'm hesitant to support any additional funding that we don't have accountability up to hundreds of billions estimated, that is taken fraudulently through the uninsurance program. >> not only to purchase vaccines, boosters, text, to deliver them and administer them to the american people.
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our ability to look at vaccine effectiveness studies that are germane, looking at that condition and what these conditions mean. >> i want to say, asking taxpayers for more with hundreds of billions of dollars lost is unconscionable. let's find that money that should have been used for its intended purpose. >> the gentle lady's time is expired. krista murphy, the chair recognizes you for five minutes. >> let me begin with secretary o'connell. how many doses of vaccine are
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left in the stockpile that is to be administered at this point? >> that is an important question as we look across the current inventory, it changes every day as vaccines are administered and we currently assist that we have enough to provide a boost to the 15 and older population that was authorized and recommended by fda and cdc yesterday. we have questions whether we would have enough vaccine if we were to do a general campaign in the fall. nor do we have funding for these doses. >> can i jump in, what we have left in the inventory for boosting those who are age 50 and older, how many in the
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population are younger is in that particular age, do you know? >> i don't know. 330 million total be look at, how many are below? >> i understand. what i'm hearing from a lot of providers is health resources and services administration program is going to run out of money very shortly. has already run out of money at this point? >> it has for one component it is responsible for. as of last tuesday at midnight it is not accepting claims for tests and treatment, for reimbursing providers for providing tests, no longer accepts as of last tuesday. next tuesday will stop accepting claims for vaccines. >> you beat me to it.
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as stopping accepting reimbursements for test and treatment and as of next tuesday it will do the same for vaccines. >> these are the claims the providers are submitting. >> i am deeply concerned about that. my phone is already lighting up with text messages and emails from a number of providers who were expecting to be reimbursed and i suspect that is the case all over the country, and basically how many people are we talking about who will be left in the lurch who would otherwise benefit? >> hrs i would know that in particular but several tens of millions of people fall into that gap at this point. >> let me ask you this about global vaccination. i am the cochair of the global
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vaccination in congress and strenuously advocate basically more funding to make sure the rest of the world gets vaccinated because that is the only way to get out of this pandemic. $15.6 billion that has been requested is now being out located for that particular purpose? >> my understanding is the request is $5 billion to do that work. >> what would they do with that money? >> the president committed one. 2 billion vaccines to the rest of the world. of those, 500 million have been delivered to 512 countries but we still have work to do. not only would it help get the next round of vaccines to the world but would also make sure they are administered. it is one thing to ship them to different countries and another to make sure they enter arms, that part of the work that usa
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is about id is doing. >> so that is enough to fulfill the pledge that was made? >> usaid made that request and how much of a pledge it would fulfill we have to see but -- >> that is extremely important. i feel like we need more transparency on that piece because that is something the lot of others care deeply about. i will yield back. >> the critical reports, the challenges measuring back to this country is not lost on a limited setting, 14% of research limited settings, we need administration capacity, surveillance capacity, safety capacity, data capacity in all these places to deliver those vaccines and give them to the people.
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>> we need a lot more than $5 million for that and that is where we need more transparency and information from you on that. are i yield back. i have to go vote. >> thank you very much. the chair recognizes mr. scalise for five minutes. >> rochelle walensky, we recently interviewed doctor henry walk, cdc's director for the center of preparedness and response in your office. you know mister walk, don't you? >> yes, very well. >> the respect doctor walk's opinion on the job he does? >> he has great integrity and has my respect. >> i ask because we asked him a number of questions about something we also asked you about and that relates to the changes that were made to cdc
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guidance right before they were about to come out on school reopening is as it relates to the teachers union making major edits to the cdc guidance. i know when we asked you about it, you said, quote, cdc's customary practice to engage stakeholders which we thought wasn't necessarily what we had seen in the past so we asked doctor walk and some of the things he said, that it was uncommon for the cdc to share draft guidance documents to outside partners. he also said the cdc even if they did reliefs graft guidance it would be, quote, several hours before publication. yet you shared school guidance with the cdc 12 days before publication and there's a trail of emails going back long
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before the guidance came out between you and the head of the union talking about changes that ultimately got incorporated almost verbatim. is uncommon or not uncommon to allow an outside partner like a teachers union who is trying to keep school shut, to edit the documents when cdc guidance was initially going to give more credence to opening schools and you changed it on their behalf to give them better opportunity to keep schools closed? is doctor walk right that it is uncommon or your comments that it is common the right statement? >> thank you, ranking member. i was not in the room to understand the full context of his testimony but let me tell you what i know about the conversation, conversations in the beginning of february 2021
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days after i entered this position, getting schools open is critically important. at the time we had 46% of schools open for in person learning and we all agree we have challenges with children, social educational milestones to get schools open, in that context is engaged as we often do with organizations and groups that are impacted by guidance and recommendations at the agency. >> let me ask you this. did you engage with any parents groups? >> we did. our draft guidance was shared with 50 organizations as stakeholders. the national association -- the mission of getting our children vaccinated. >> you provide the details on all the groups you consulted with and specifically can you provide which groups gave you
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recommendations that you incorporated. when we look at the request from the teachers unions specifically they send you language because they were concerned your language might not make it easy enough for them to close schools. doctor fauci testified in our committee almost a year ago but he testified schools should be open. their strong science that schools should be open can of unions wanted to close them. this is the changed language after they sent you this email, not where teacher groups or parent groups gave input that i have seen, they sent you this change and this is what your new document showed literally almost verbatim language and i don't know if you put a footnote, if somebody gives you language, if footnote they gave the language but wells was able to give this kind of guidance that you took almost verbatim
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and changed your report? >> as i mentioned we engaged with 50 organizations and stakeholders can we do those engagements to bring in feedback and take that feedback and consider it and ultimately in plummet things that are consistent with our scientific underpinnings. then -- >> all the groups that gave you input and whose input you allowed into your document like clearly the unions were one of those groups that got to change the science. >> there was an omission. packet speak to the omission the omission in our draft guidance did not reflect what should happen with compromise teachers. ..ct on what would happen with immuno compromised teachers, teachers undergoing chemotherapy, whether they were on modulating agents. there was nothing in the guidance on what we should do in that situation. representative: they thank you for including it because they said it makes it easier to close schools.
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did any other group if you changes that you incorporated? dr. walensky: >> let me just note, as reflection of what happened after that guidance, 46% schools were closed before, 60% -- 46% schools are open before the guidance. 60% just two months after. the guidance opened schools even in the absence of vaccinations are still should be open even in the absence of vaccination. in fact, just thiss past year in fall of 2021 with the delta surge ongoing, wein had over 99% of our schools open. >> i i look forward to getting that information. u.i would reiterate if we can gt dr. fauci to testify before the committee. he said he wants to but he said he can't do it unless you ask him so i would ask that you asked dr. fauci to come and testify. >> i will take into consideration your request. with that, do we have another,
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is a democratic member, we have not recognized anyot other membr present that is not recognized? i'm going to call a recess. i i know we have a hard stop at 4:00 butkn let me recess to seef any other members wish to participate. okay? recognize ms. miller-meeks for five minutes. >> thank you very much chairman clyburn. i want to thank our witnesses. i know how difficult this is, dr. wilensky. you and i haves had conversatios and much of my frustration over what happened to the pandemic especially as it is related to the cdc or the nih is more the
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function of bureaucracy and how bureaucracies work rather than sometimes the individuals who are personally involved. i just wanted to say that up front. and also having been a direct of the department of public health i also have some concerns when i became director of the department that the majority of our function was not related to when ity think is most important function of the cdc which is disease control which was her first and primary mission which is a national security issue versus the shift towards prevention. i think we know why that's occurred but yet it lends a level ofoc frustration because e don't have the immediacy that we need when comes w to handling te pandemic. also dr. murthy, dr. walensky, as physicians, as published authors, medical doctors, we published in medical journals and as you on the first ten
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there's a requirement for disclosure. disclosures of financial interests, any conflict of interest. dr. walensky i do want to ask if the cdc when they published their february 2021 guidance, did you think to put a footnote to the teachers union or to think to disclose that there was a couplet of interest in getting information verbatim from the teachers union? our guidance ands are a bit different than policies in a medical journal. we do advise standard practice and get feedback from different organizations and many stakeholders, and in full guidance and other guidance as well. we don't necessarily list who we feed -- who we get feedback from. you know as a public health official that we routinely engage with our public health
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partners, school superintendents, state boards of education, parent organizations, tenant organizations, the national organization of school psychologists. representative: i didn't see any footnote or guidance that was directed from the state of iowa which reopened schools in the fall without incident or super-spreader events. we opened schools in august 202010 no detriment either to teachers, staff or students. when you look at the effect on students, i will continue to emphasize this because our sponsor to the pandemic is based upon the precedent this year, we just reduced the number of pediatric deaths. i am concerned about excess deaths due to the pandemic. excess deaths have surpassed one
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million deaths according to cdc. deaths attributed to covid may have been from other comorbidities which would have caused death regardless of whether someone was infected with covid-19. we have seen increases of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and advanced cancers because there was not a diagnosis or treatment. even more remarkable, the deaths from increased mental health issues, whether they be depression, anxiety, suicide, drug use and overdose. those deaths are occurring in the 18-45 year age group. the nevada school system opened its schools in 2021 because of
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18 deaths in nine months, the youngest of which was nine years old. that is a travesty we foisted upon our children who are the future of this cap -- this country. how are they going to be resilient in the future when there early learning years were not in school and without social interactions. it is important that we look at the consequences, risks and benefits and there are significant risks to how we performed in this pandemic. as we have heard, we know you worked with the teachers union to establish school reopening guidance. but i am interested if you took excess deaths into consideration. how did the data showing rising
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drug and suicide deaths impact your guidance? did you consult with the american academy of pediatrics or the american psychological association who declared a national emergency on children's health and the who, which declared a world emergency on childhood offered. chair clyburn: the chair will allow short answer. dr. walensky: you and i had a recent conversation about this. i am happy to provide a list to articulate our school guidance. i commended the state of vaio a being able to open safely -- state of iowa to be able to open safely, but only 46% of schools were opened overall. there was uneven distribution of
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where cases are around the country. an important point on data, we owing this pandemic at cdc have needed to work with real-time data in this emergency and report it outwards. in our death data, we make decisions that i know you know involve public health, especially with death data. we get them in real time and that he get more sophisticated and validated death data from other sources later, so we are constantly updating our data and validating especially the death data. on the death data, as you know, it is very difficult but we are working toward that as well. representative: thank you, mr. chair. it is hard to send more money without reforming cdc. chair clyburn: i apologized for the problems -- apologized for the problems we are having. another vote is taking place.
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we have been having 15-minute votes and because we have so many people voting by proxy because of covid-19, we reduced the time to five minutes, which means they lot of people are sticking close to the floor. and there is a vote on the floor now that is taking more time because it seems there is confusion about what they are voting for. so, people are searching for votes and in the absence of the ranking member, i will proceed to close. but before we close, i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record letters from national
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association of county and city health officials. i am sure there will be no objections, there is nobody here to object. in close, i ask all the witnesses who testified -- i thank all the witness who testified today. we truly appreciate your steady leadership the pandemic and your dedication to protect and improve the health of all americans. as we have heard, safe and effective vaccines, new treatments, reppo testing and other tools -- rapid testing and other tools have allowed americans to drastically reduce their risk of the coronavirus. we have emerged from the crisis phase of the pandemic as a result of this progress.
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congress must provide the necessary funding to execute resident biden's national covid-19 containment land. this plan, if fully funded, will equip our mission to protect against and treat the coronavirus, prepare for new variants, keep businesses open safely, open schools and continue leading the global vaccination effort. if congress fails to act, we increase the risk the coronavirus will become a crisis once again. i see that the ranking member has returned and will allow him to make a closing statement. representative: thank you. we are bouncing back and forth voting and having a hearing and i shea you -- i appreciate you having it and appreciate the witnesses.
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there is contention over some of the differences here and it is because we have been working and had hearings where dr. fauci and others said we need to open schools. we had this fight for too long. you see documents that come out that appear that some people were given extra ability to change guidance from the cdc. unions were asking for changes because they felt that what was about to come out wasn't going to give them enough ability to shut schools. and when we have science saying open the schools and almost verbatim, the changes they proposed and asked to be included were incorporated almost word for word in the final document. they had 12 days in advance, the ability to do this. dr. walensky said she is going to give us information on other groups.
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we have been here for parents group send a lot of the time, the justice department was calling parents domestic temper wrists for trying to get schools opened and it seems the biden administration has been siding with unions against parents over and over. maybe some parents' groups were included. i would love to see those that were able to get language included. we know what the unions were able to get included. and this is with the backdrop of a hearing a few months ago with the president's own pollster laid out polling showing the american people are worn out by the pandemic route at the next they come a cdc change to guidance to say you don't have to have masks, after the president's pollster said people are fed up. if we get back to restoring trust, we have to address what happened here.
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dr. green wasn't able to ask questions during votes, but i would like to give up the rest of my time. representative: thank you. as a physician, we live by a code, the ama's clear about standards for publications. ama is clear you disclose financial grants or anything you get. the teachers unions gave millions of dollars to democrats across the board and influenced five paragraphs of the cd see -- of the cdc position. ed wasn't disclosed that this teachers union did not get disclosed. -- it wasn't disclosed that this teachers union did not get disclosed. it is against ama policy on publications. there is not a footnote at five
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paragraphs are practically identical. a high school kid turning in a term paper has to put a footnote in. with that, i yield. chair clyburn: without objection, all members have five working days in which to submit additional written questions for the witnesses to the chair, which will be forward here or here or here or anywhere that matters. america is watching on c-span, powered by cable.
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