tv Washington Journal Primetime Clinical Care for COVID-19 CSPAN May 1, 2020 8:00pm-9:02pm EDT
take. steps she takes to safeguard her capitol hill office. watch "the communicators" monday night on c-span 2. ♪ primetime. journal" for the next hour, a special edition of c-span's "washington journal." your questions about the coronavirus start now. host: we welcome you to another primetime edition of the "washington journal." the death toll has exceeded 54,000. the fda approving a new experimental drug remdesivir for emergency use. it was tested at a number of leading medical facilities including the university of alabama. we will talk to a doctor from
that school about the research and what this means. the author of "spillover, animal infections and the next human pandemic," he will be joining us from montana. 202 the area code and washington, dc. for the eastern time zone. 202-748-8001 for the pacific and mountain time zones. 202-748-8001 if you are -- 202-748-8002 if you are a medical expert. the very latest from johns hopkins university and the numbers on this pandemic. around the world 3.1 million cases and the death toll exceeding 214,000. joining us from birmingham, alabama is
dr. michael saag. he is the director for the infectious disease division at
the university of alabama birmingham school of medicine. thank you for being with us. dr. saag: thank you for having me. host: the timing of this conversation, the breakthrough by the fda, this new drug used for emergency purposes. your school and institution, part of the research. how significant is this? dr. saag: this is an important breakthrough because it has proof of concept in inhibiting the virus directly which translates to clinical benefits. we have not seen anything like that before. it is a definite step in the right direction. steve: this is done at lightning speed. how quickly was this approved and how unusual is that? dr. saag: it really is. the scientific spots to the epidemic
in general is remarkable. isresponse to the epidemic remarkable. it was a was in january and
wasn't into the united dates until mid to late -- united states until mid-to-late february. the virus has been determined, disease described, the virus has been cloned in sequence. tests were developed and implemented and now we have a drug that has not only been implemented in a clinical trial, but the results are available and the drug approved. that is unprecedented. steve: the university of alabama, one of the leading institutions that conducted this research. walk us through this. who were some of the patients who had taken this drug? dr. saag: right. the story goes back to five years ago. was here.hitley he had a grant from the national institute.
remdesivir was one of the drugs identified for this trying to use it for ebola. it did not work, but it had activity with coronaviruses. fast-forward, the trial was opened. it was for patients who had serious infection, white far along in clinical -- quite far along in their clinical progress. we saw about 16 patients in a short time, and rolled -- enrolled them into the study, and we followed them along. some of them are actively in the trial and we are breaking the blind so those on the placebo will get active drug in the next day or so. steve: had you heard about this drug before? dr. saag: yes, from dr. whitley and from nature, the journal. about january 10 of this year,
they had an article that showed remdesivir versus other agents and showed it had activity in animal models. people started thinking we should evaluate this. the nih and gilead sciences who makes the drug started to evaluate the drug and many clinical trials opened almost simultaneously. it is remarkable a study that may be opened in the middle end of march already has results by the first of may and the fda has given in the early approval authorization, which has never been done before. steve: if you are a medical professional, we would love to hear from you. the phone number is 202-748-8002 . are there side effects to this treatment? story is not whole together. it appears to be nausea happening in 10% of the
patients. some went under respiratory failure but we don't know -- that was not because of the drug . that was happening in both groups. some people have blips in their liver enzymes. it was not very significant. fewreview patients -- very had to stop the drug. it worked very well and it did not cause a lot of toxicity. steve: i know you and dr. are good friends. those around him said he was genuinely excited with this announcement wednesday that the drug was available. he made a reference to how similar this was to the age azt wasc in 1987 when zt first discovered. from 1987 to 1990 it did alleviate death. it prevented them from dying.
as the next wave of drugs came along, they were there for it. , but someeople died people made it through because of azt. referring back to hiv is an interesting parallel to where we are with coronavirus. aids was first described in 1981. there wasn't -- the causative agent from 1983. a test wasn't available until 1985. the drug 1987, 6 years. contrast that to what we have talked about, it is eight to 10 weeks. this is really remarkable. steve: is it an expensive drug? what do you know? dr. saag: nothing yet because the drug company has to go through that process. here is the idea that is radical
but important. we know this drug is going to be needed in a lot of places simultaneously and the company has gone to great lengths to develop the drug and to make it in large amounts so more people can be treated. they should be compensated. here is a way to solve the public health need and keeping the drug company whole, use the netflix model. that means the government agrees to pay the drug company a certain amount, pick a number, $1 billion, whatever it is. that gives the country the ability to get access to the drug without having to go for a per unit cost. what is worse, it may start coming out where you get co-pays .r co-pay cards
a lot of the chaos we sometimes see for other medications that we ordinarily use, we would avoid that. it would streamline the availability of the drug to get to people, get distributed through health departments or health-care systems without worrying about the cost and ability to pay for the drug. it has been used with hepatitis c in the state of louisiana. they adopted this long ago, and the country of australia did this for hepatitis c drugs. they were able to incentivize testing, treatment and they have virtually eradicated it from the constant. -- continent. if we do that in the u.s. and elsewhere, the company will be ok. they can negotiate the price but we don't have to get hung up on access because of inability to eva,steve: let's go to
joining us from michigan. caller: thank you. my daughter and i had gone to scotland for a wedding. when we got back, she got sick. favors and all kinds of things. we went to our family physician and he gave her an antibiotic i had never heard of and they used it for malaria. she was sick 10 to 14 days free this point if- at it was the coronavirus true while i was there, i was having extreme nosebleeds for three days and every night we were in the emergency room to have my .ose, raised was there a possibility -- my nose cauterized. dr. saag: how long ago was it? caller: we went to the wedding
on the second of january and we were there until the ninth. dr. saag: it could have been. we are thinking a lot of the story -- linking a lot of the story to the wuhan area in november, december but i am hearing stories similar to yours where people were getting sick in different parts of the world in january. sounds like your daughter had symptoms consistent with coronavirus. you can tell perhaps by getting an accurate antibody test. i will get back to that maybe later. if she had the infection she likely would have antibody against the virus, being as sick as she was for that long. she should have antibody positivity which is the immune system's footprint if you are looking at the remnant of immune system activity. that would show up weeks to had thefter somebody
infection. that is one way you can find out. , ife: we should point out you had -- you also had covid-19 along with your son, a physician in new york. dr. saag: that is right. steve: you wrote about it in the "washington post." dr. saag: what i talked about was the challenge of being infected with this, which everybody who has bad symptoms knows what i am talking about, the nightmare scenario of having the virus. it is a monster because it waxes and wanes over days and sometimes weeks. for me i felt good in the morning but by the afternoon and evening i started feeling sick and the knights were awful -- nights were awful. i was feeling like i was on the
bade of going into shortness of breath and needing to go into the hospital where i might end up on a ventilator. it was frightening. the point is nobody wants to get this. horrorard -- former -- of having the infection is fear of the unknown. until the studies came out with remdesivir, nothing was proven to work. another reason why this is a big step forward. steve: alan's next. caller: good evening. a quick comment. the pandemiced committee, then he denied it. my question is, can you quantify how much damage -- would it have made a big difference if we had beenred, or would it have
a disaster anyway? steve: thank you. dr. saag: just to take it out of a political space, what we are really dealing with is a virus we have never seen before and an immune system in everyone that was susceptible. no matter what it would have been catastrophic. how much we could prepare is debatable. how many lives might have been involved, having been ready earlier verses later, certainly if we were totally prepared and could predict this, we would be better. that is the point for the future. i would bet we never again are left in a situation where a virus which commonly goes from the animal kingdom into humans, that we will not be caught flat-footed again. steve: the white house the president talked about the
remdesivir. >> i am pleased to announce eua from the fda of remdesivir. that has been in the media, important treatment for hospitalized patients. it is something, i spoke with dr. khan and dr. fauci. i spoke with deborah about it. it is a promising situation. from the oval office earlier today. jenny is next from lancaster, ohio. caller: i have trouble expressing myself. bestl try to say this as as i can. does china use more of their natural herbs and things on their country more than what we use? do they use the medicine we use in the united states, or do they
use their natural medicines more? anybodywould work, has gone into what the chinese use? steve: thank you. dr. saag: it is a good question. even in the united states we have a lot of folks who use natural herbs and other remedies to treat different disorders. i am confident that happens in china. china uses what we call western or traditional medicines as well. fromines originally came .atural products, bark that is how we came up with a lot of antibiotics like penicillin. the take-home point is we are always looking to nature for the chemicals and base compounds we use in drugs. the advantage of the medicines in a pill form is we have
identified the active ingredient so when you have a natural product that has gotten a lot of stuff you don't necessarily want or need and some of it can be toxic, when you identify the key ingredient, that makes the difference and has the active component, you can purify it, synthesize it, put it into a capsule so you know every time you get 250 milligrams of whatever it is, that is exactly what you are getting. going into natural products and extracts, you don't know what you are getting each dose. that is the advantage of more traditional medicine in our country. welcome our c-span radio audience. our guest is to -- is dr. michael saag. he is a professor from williamstown, new jersey.
you are next. now? : yes, start talking steve: you are on the air. caller: ok. i live in williamstown, new jersey. the 14th, what kind of the middle or close to the end of february, i have never been so sick in my life. i had an infection. my chest gurgled. i had pneumonia a couple times and i felt like somebody beat me up. my stomach hurt me, i could not eat. i had no fever. i was wondering if that could have been the coronavirus. dr. saag: it sure could have been. one of the things we know about the virus in addition to the holders of not knowing what is
-- the horrors of not knowing what his next is it is different in everybody. everybody this is on fever -- focuses on fever but it is only present in 30% of people coming into the hospital. a majority don't have fever. the other symptoms are headache, loss of sense of smell -- that is almost telling you you have got it -- coughing, shortness of stomach.iarrhea, upset all of that in varying degrees and amounts over time. they wax and wane daily. there are other things that have been noted and more rare circumstances. forming. even young people have been noted to have strokes out of the blue. that is due to the coronavirus. how does that happen?
you have the virus that is replicating, but that doesn't cause the symptoms. what causes the symptoms is the immune system reacting to the virus. it sends out chemicals to tell the rest of the immune system, we have got an invader here. it goes out of control. that causes collateral damage and sends chemicals flying around, it does tissue damage in brain.gs, the heart, the it causes symptoms and it is variable from person to person and even during the day, how much of the cytokines or chemicals are produced. what we want to do is prevent as many people as we can from getting it. remdesivir, the drug, doesn't have any impact on the immune system, but what it does is it stops the virus from
replicating. that helps tell the immune system it is under control. you can relax. clean up whatever residual damage the virus has done. that is the beauty of the approach with remdesivir. steve: when we talked to dr. fauci, he indicated we are about one year, 18 months away before we get a vaccine. does this development speed that process up? dr. saag: it helps us. it doesn't necessarily speed up the vaccine process. everyone is using that timeline of 12 to 18 months. that is under the best circumstances. if we have vaccine candidates, which we do, and they have been used enough to know the safety and we can show the efficacy, its ability to protect -- that will not be known for a while. even if we have a candidate
vaccine that works, it will take time to rev up the protection that will be needed under the right to conditions so that those two dose consist -- the ise to dose consistency available for public use. what do we do between now and the vaccine? that is where remdesivir comes into play. let's imagine the world without treatment and we have to wait 18 to 20 months. we have public health approaches which are the stay-at-home orders and relaxation a little bit. we have to use those to keep the virus away from people. now we might have something we can use should somewhat get infected, getting involved early, not waiting for them to get sick, like the study showed.
remdesivir used earlier in the course of disease before people get so sick -- the studies have not been done on that. they will be following very closely. we know it works in very sick people. i think its best use will be when somebody gets sick, they get tested right away and they get started on a drug like this and abort the affection before it can cause the horrible symptoms that put people at risk of dying. steve: those studies done at a number of institutions including the university of alabama birmingham. nicole is joining us from michigan. caller: how are you doing? dr. saag: good. on the air? steve: go ahead. caller: why does it seem like african-american people are dying at a higher rate than other races with the covid
situation? steve: thank you for the question. we will get a response. dr. saag: you have hit on an important observation we are seeing across the country. african-americans and other minority groups are disproportionately getting sicker with this infection and there is more deaths in populations. there is a lot of explanations for the one most people are using as an explanation is there is health disparities to begin with. careght be an access to issue. it might be we know other comorbid conditions like diabetes, obesity and other underlying conditions can put people at higher risk for disease progression. where i live, those particular comorbidities are more prevalent
among african-american communities than counterparts. that is our best explanation at this time. it is something to hone in on an study to minimize the amount of hardship and illness in not only this population but all populations. steve: we know this drug can be used to speed up recovery. can it be used to prevent infection? dr. saag: it is possible. if we use hiv as an example, we started developing drugs to treat people with the disease and it started in the most ill patients and then worked its way back to a symptomatic people. tests positive, they are put on therapy. then we discovered people at highest risk for acquiring, we would give them the same antiviral drugs in a different
form. it worked. if people took the medicine, they were protected against infection. that is called preexposure, prophylaxis, or prep. we are in a state we know there is some clinical benefit to those who are the most sick. maybe we should be using -- moving earlier so people, as they start having symptoms, you treat. it is possible with an oral drug. .emdesivir is only available iv kink ins a -- puts a the idea. we can use another one. it is possible we might treat health care workers in harm's way with an agent, assuming it is safe and we show it can prevent. that could be a way forward
until we get a suitable vaccine. your question is spot on. steve: good evening. caller: good evening. thank you for taking the call. i had a question about the paper -- which really shows little benefit of remdesivir and no improvement in patients.shedding of dr. saag: that is one history. there were 3 -- one mistry -- mystery. there was a second study delia ran that looked at five days looked-- gilead ran that at five days versus 10 days. this one was one out of china where they randomized and didn't see the same clinical benefit we study.the nih
they also richard -- measured the amount of virus in the upper and lower airway. antiviralis is an agent, everyone would expect you should see the difference in the rate of inhibition of the virus either in the upper or lower respiratory tract. surprisingly that was not demonstrated. my first thing is i cannot explain that. it was a surprise to me. we need to figure that out. looking at the data carefully, not every person had virus tested. it was a subset of patients in each of the group. more people had upper airway done versus lower. among the people with the lower airways which is a lot of where the action is in the disease, there was a trend towards rapid
rate of decline. that is a soft finding to be honest. i cannot explain that we have more work to do. steve: edward is joining us. you are on the air with dr. michael saag in birmingham, alabama. caller: thank you for answering my call. hade was an incident, i someone come over to my home. he was in front of my door. i rushed out to his health, me and my wife. i rushed him to the hospital. call 911.want to didn't have a mask or gloves that i was taking him down to the hospital. had -- laterout he on, the disease.
too.ife had it we was wondering why us being exposed, do you automatically have the disease? we did to the test -- take the test. do you automatically have it? steve: thank you. dr. saag: short answer is no. i want to commend you for going to the aid of that individual. you did the right thing for that guy even though you put yourself in harm's way. coming back to your question, not everybody who is exposed gets infected. the chances after the type of exposure you had is at least 50% . we know that people living in the same household of someone who is infected, the risk is 30%. . think that number is low
you are probably 50% to 90% risk especially if you were close to this guy and he was very sick. you did the right thing getting tested. my other suggestion is you and your wife stay at home until you get the answer and monitor yourself for symptoms. you could develop symptoms. typically it is two to eight days between exposure and symptoms developing. if you get to 14 days and you are not sick, you dodged the clinical infection but you may have gotten infected and not had symptoms. that is asymptomatic infection. you don't have symptoms, but you were infected. you can check that out from the eight weeks from the exposure and get back to the antibody test we talked about earlier. that will tell you if that exposure led to infection.
i commend you for doing the right thing for that man. steve: we are all learning about ppe and those on the front lines , doctors and nurses, has this pandemic changed what they do and how? degree it has. it is like going into war for health care workers on the front lines. we are more respectful of wearing gowns and proper ppe. i am an infectious disease doc, and they put up the sign, gown up. i do, but i am not as rigorous about it every time. i have learned the importance of being rigorous about it every time. it has changed me and how i approach things i suspect other doctors might be the same way. it has given us a lot of respect again for mother nature.
we have done in the lot -- done a lot in the last 80 years to bring diseases under control that we almost expect anything we encounter, there will be a solution. that has happened a little bit. the coronavirus came along and people so what are we going to do about it? there should be a fix. we have not had time enough to develop this. it is remarkable how much we have been able to accomplish in 10 weeks. i am looking forward to the next 10 and 20 weeks to see what we will come up with, but it will take all of us together, scientists, providers and the entire community to do our part to help bring this epidemic under control. steve: linda is on the phone from orange, connecticut.
caller: thank you for taking the time to answer my question. my first question is i was listening to bill gates, and he was talking about funding. the gates foundation is second to the united states in funding this type of research. i don't know if it is specifically to this or the coronavirus in general, but regardless, the funding worldwide, how is that structured? does it go to universities? it? it go to -- who does does the w.h.o. gather funds? but i wouldyers, like to know if it is a joint effort between pharmaceuticals,
medical centers, do they fund the research? thank you for taking your time to answer my question. it is very much a and collaboration between academic institutions, the testing industry and other scientific, even companies that make masks and downs and ventilators. the philanthropy area like bill gates and the organizations like w.h.o., there is collaboration. what bill gates is doing, he has set up a network of response for hiv globally. he has been pushing hard for hiv vaccine. it was relatively straightforward for him and the go -- oundation to
my understanding is he is looking at the gaps, the things that are not being funded readily. the number one thing is creating the capacity for factories to be built, to generate enough vaccine in a rapid way so that identified, weis are not left in a lurch of waiting for the scale up of building factories to produce enough doses. assuming two doses will be needed, we have got to have 600 million doses of vaccine. that is more than any disease we have ever seen. flu, we, we get -- the get one shot. that is 300 million.
the entire world. we need to have billions of doses. that will be an incredible ramp up. to answer your question, all of us, we are depending on our expertise, accessing funding to do together what we need to do. that is why you have seen such a marketable amount of scientific progress in a very short time. jeffrey's next. dr. saag: -- caller: i tell you, it is almost depressing what we hear. you say there is a lot of progress and then you will say we will be able to put this therapeutic on the front end, but if we are not testing anybody, the people getting
tested, the people that have severe symptoms -- now we are getting ready to open up the -- we know it is not. sicker. getting they say we are over the hump. talking about a vaccine and they .ay, we don't have a vaccine we don't have a vaccine for a. that is a virus. it is a must like the average guy is looking at so much and he don't know where the truth is. job, but we a great confirmedllion people that have it and 60,000 dead. we know those numbers are low because we are not testing.
i am 70 years old. first off i am very grateful you asked the question. playing back what i have said, i realize my enthusiasm for the science has been overwhelming. what you bring up is a reality check. there is a lot of dynamics at play. what we are seeing in the real world is tragic. remarkably tragic. data -- 64,000nd deaths. 64,000 people who have died. that is in a 12 week timeframe or less. that is tragic. there is suffering among the people who have had the family members who
have passed away, there is economic hardship. we have had to take extreme measures of stay-at-home and lockdowns. people are suffering. we have to keep our eye on that. there is a mixed bag. what i am hoping happens is through shows like this, we get to the truth. is what matters. if i had one thing to do besides making it go away, we go forward, do this together, let's get the politics out of this. it is coming up the works -- it works.ing up the we have to get the science together, the communities, we have to keep fighting this. eye on the ball,
we can do this. if we start pulling apart, it will be that more difficult. steve: before we let you go, you meant to and -- mentioned you have recovered from the virus and getting a lot of blood work lately. what has that taught you? dr. saag: i learned this in the days of hiv when i was a physician investigator. i learned several things. public because it creates just go public -- go public. volunteer. volunteer ourselves for science. when i got tested for coronavirus i've researched -- volunteered for a research study. they drew blood. i have high levels of antibody. yesterday to help create more access to the antibody i had, i
volunteered -- i had a line put in my neck so they could draw amountsnt -- sufficient of cells and plasma. hundredn cells and five milliliters of plasma. i want to contribute. if we are doing the same kind of thing, working hard together to fight this scourge, we will get to an answer and solution a lot faster. steve: thank you for your team and research. dr. michael saag, the director of the infectious disease division at the university of alabama birmingham school of medicine. thank you for being with us. dr. saag: thank you for the opportunity. i appreciate it. steve: we want to turn our attention to the origins of the pandemic.
quammen,s is david author of the book "spillover." eight years ago, you predicted this. can you explain? david: i would not say i predicted it. i listened to a select group of scientists who studied infectious diseases and they predicted it. sort of a consensus, when i asked them, will there be a next bigone, and egg human -- human pandemic, the essential answer was yes. it will be caused by a virus, out of the wild animal, possibly a bat. a virus that involves quickly, influenza quickly, or coronavirus.
it will be where people make contact with animals like a wet market in china. that is what i put in the book because that is what they were saying. animal infection transmissible to humans. there are more than you might expect. aids, influenza. pondering them as a group shows the darkest of darwin's truths, that humanity is a kind of animal, connected with others in origin and dissent, in sickness nt, in sickness and in health. david: this is all darwinian. the evolution of scary viruses, that is what this is all about. infections that are transmissible to humans. to say it more accurately,
nonhuman animal infections that are transmissible to humans. in 1859win reminded us is we humans are animals. we are connected with the natural world. we are not separate from it three we are mammals. we are really -- from it. we are mammals. a mammal virus can jump from a chimpanzee, like hiv, other viruses, or a virus such as this one jumping from bats. we are connected with the natural world and we are mammals. one of the ways we are connected is by way of viruses and diseases. their virus, our virus, the same. steve: one of the questions we have been getting from viewers and listeners is why this
continues to happen and what lessons we can apply with covid-19 or other animal borne viruses that come into our society? david: in the last 60 years, it goes back to the 1961 virus out of rodents in bolivia. marburg virus out of monkeys in 1967, there is a whole drumbeat. i will spare you. spilling outruses of wild animals, getting into humans, causing outbreaks, terrible, localized outbreaks like the early ones of ebola virus and causing scary epidemics such as the sars epidemic. we will call that one a small 2003, a coronavirus came out of that's -- out of bats, spread to beijing and
toronto, killed one in 10 people affected. these are not independent events. these reflect things that we are doing, humans, 7.7 billion of us, more and more disturbing the natural world, capturing animals, killing animals, cutting down trees, establishing mining camps, exposing ourselves to the viruses other animals carry. they can pass into us and transmit from one human to another. they have been won the sweepstakes. they can become among the most successful viruses in the planet. the way hiv is, this one and others. humans are the sweepstake post. -- host. steve: is that the case with covid-19? david: i would say that is the
case with the virus. this is a virus that came from a horseshoe bat. we know that from molecule or evidence, came from a -- molecular evidence, came from the horseshoe bat, went through an intermediate animal to get into humans. those animals were not abundant. if it went through a pangolin, maybe endangered or threatened species, got into humans, he discovers it can replicate in humans, transmit trump human -- from human to human. -- billion, of vista billion, a vista of new environment. it is taking advantage. steve: you have written dozens of books are what is the biggest unknown, as somebody who has
spent a lot of time researching these viruses? david: when there is a new virus in the human population, where did it come from, what animal, and how did it pass from that animal into humans? that is the abiding mystery with ebola. bats in central africa but we don't know that for sure. we don't have the gold standard evidence. with this virus there is a mystery about how it passed from its presumably bat reservoir into humans. how it managed to be or happened , effectivelyously adapted to transmitting in humans, silent transmission, from asymptomatic hosts as well as symptomatic hosts.
that is one of the mysteries. another is how will it evolve, what is it going to do now it is in the human population? doesn't seem to have changed much. why has it needed to? it is so successful. what will this look like two or three years from now? gone: do you think having through all of this as society, the public, our government, have we learned a lesson? david: we have not yet. there are still lies flying out of mouths and washington, dc confusing people. i hope we learned a lesson from this. he will be a terrible event -- it will be a terrible event. even if we get a handle on it and avoid the worst possibilities, it will happen an event that killed many people that did not need to die.
caused a lot of hardship with people who can't go to work, can't buy food. it is causing terrible impacts on people all over the world. when we are on the far side of it, i hope we will have learned a lesson in terms of how we live on this planet so that we can live a little bit less impact on the natural world, little bit less hubris, little bit less of the reckless behavior that offers strange viruses the opportunity to spill into human population. steve: why have you spent so much time researching this area, why the interest? david: the question goes back 25 years. i got interested in ebola first. i started reading about it and did anxhibition -- and
exhibition across central africa. i knew that ebola virus was around me in the forest and i started to realize this is ecology and evolutionary biology. it lived in a reservoir. when we disturbed that, it went into humans. if it is adapted to us, it can hurt us badly. that was my wheelhouse. i got interested in emerging viruses, infectious diseases because it was another application of ecology and evolutionary biology, darwin 101. steve: the book is titled spillover, animal infections and the next human pandemic. our guest is david quammen, joining us from montana. david: good to be with you. stay safe. be well. steve: all of our coverage
including this program, daily briefings and the white house task force is available on our website at c-span.org/coronavirus. joining us from washington is representative susan dell penny from that state's first congressional district. your city has been the bid -- the epicenter. >> it was a very challenging time with the first cases here. kirkland, washington and the long-term care center there. it has been a long road. we have had a lot of incredible response from our community, health officials, health care workers at hospitals and first responders. having gone through this for we have seen now, the positive results of folks staying at home, bending the
curve. we know thereure are protocols in place for health care. we understand the importance of testing. we have the goals others do to get the materials for testing and the supply of personal protective equipment. it has been an incredible response from the community and we have seen the decline in cases and that has been a result of the strong response. we took strong action. that has been from folks across the state, our governor, public health officials and community working together to bend the curve. stay-at-home, doing everything possible to protect our families and keep people healthy. we have seen the impact of that, how important it is we increase the amount of testing that is
available, the critical importance of the supply chain for personal protective equipment and have shared what we have learned across the country. it has been a strong health care impact. we saw in the longest of anyone in the country, the economic impact has been devastating from rural communities through urban communities and we are doing everything possible. that is why the federal response is important. steve: you supported the money that would be used for the testing. would that be enough? rep. delbene: the biggest challenges we have hada are fighting the actual products we need to buy, the swabs, the reagents, the materials folks need for testing. the dollars are critically
important, the supply chain has been the most difficult problem. we needed and have been behind on a coordinated federal response to address the supply chain issues. the administration is starting to move in that direction. there are things like swabs coming to our state. we need that reliable supply. if we have that, we will see testing capacity increase greatly. that is critical to our ability to reopen more. steve: what cities does your district include? rep. delbene: cities outside of where theke kirkland first cases were, redmond, the home of microsoft, up to the western canadian border from the water to the mountains. it is a district that is very diverse economically from technology through agriculture and manufacturing. different types of
challenges across the district representing what we have seen in the country. folks using technology to work and communicate but also areas where there is not real broadband available and not the same opportunities for example for students to have online education. a good example of the opportunities and challenges we see across the country as we try to fight this pandemic. steve: and how many weeks have you been home? rep. delbene: i was in washington, dc last week. we voted on the most recent covid package to provide more funding for paycheck protection and for hospitals and testing. thatwas back in d.c. for vote. we need to work on using technology in congress to help us not only for voting but to
have more committee proceedings. there are a lot of things we can do and keep social distancing up. we need to do more so we can continue to do all of our work wherever people are across the country. do you think congress will embrace the changes? rep. delbene: there are things we need to do in an emergency situation like we are in today, and that there are the ways we can use technology going forward. i serve on the select committee set up by congress to modernize congress. we have had many conversations on how to use technology going forward to help the legislative process, get information, transparency and bring people in to the legislating process. as we were voting last week and we had to go in in small groups to vote because we have a card we put in a machine on the floor
of the house to vote, there are ways to use technology to help keep people safe, make sure we are doing our business quickly, and we are definitely talking about various ways we can do that and hope to see that rolled out soon. steve: how about you and your family? .ep. delbene: we are doing well my family is healthy. i feel fortunate. think our dog had greater expectations of the service we are supposed to be providing him because we are all home. my mom is 90 and i have not been able to see her in person for quite a while now. the disease has separated families. we have technology to stay connected, but it has been hard to be with each other. i look forward to a time where i can actually go and be in the
same room with her again. n delbene, from washington's first -- we conclude the program with the death count, the last 60 minutes in the u.s., the numbers courtesy of johns hopkins. nearly 3000 new infections and the deaths now at 204. a reminder we are back monday evening with another primetime edition of the washington journal. nyu tor joining us from talk about the latest research, including neurological symptoms. nansky, workingz with colleagues on the possible vaccine breakthrough. that is monday 8:00 eastern. and washington journal tomorrow.
thanks for joining us this friday. enjoy the rest of your evening. stay safe, keep healthy, see you back here monday evening. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. saturday morning dr. rebecca bernard, president of physicians for patient protection, talks about challenges facing primary health care access during the coronavirus pandemic. and ceo of the american psycgi