tv Drs. Anthony Fauci Robert Redfield Stephen Hahn Address COVID-19 ... CSPAN July 1, 2020 3:48am-7:00am EDT
live wednesday on c-span.org, the house small business committee holds a hearing on the economic injury disaster loan program, which provides in advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses who have lost income due to the pandemic. at noon eastern, the house select committee on intelligence looks at u.s.-china relations and the impact on national security and intelligence. white house coronavirus task force members dr. anthony fauci and cdc director dr. robert redfield, and fda commissioner dr. steven hahn testified at a senate hearing on the government's response to covid-19 and reopening schools. the panel addressed the recent spike in positive coronavirus cases. dr. fauci also warned that the u.s. could see up to 100,000 new cases a day.
other topics included progress on a covid-19 vaccine and news of a new swine flu. news of a new swine for. --. mr. alexander: the committee on health, education, labor and pensions will please come to order. first, some administrative matters based on the advice of the attending physician and the sergeant at arms after consulting with the department of health and human services and the centers for disease control. individuals are seated 6 feet apart. as a result there's no need for , the public to attend in
person. representatives of the press are working as a pool. in person. representatives of the press are working as a pool. the hearing may be watched online and unedited recording will be available on our website www.health.sena www.health.sena www.health.senate.gov. some senators are participating by videoconference. i'd like to say a word about masks. we may remove our masks and talk into the microphone as long as we're 6 feet apart. so that's why my mask is off right now because i'm 6 feet away from everybody else. but like many other senators when i'm walking the hallways or on the senate floor i'm wearing a mask. people wear a mask because cdc has said, quote, simple cloth coverings slow the spread of the
virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. unfortunately, this simple lifesaving practice has become part of the political debate that says this. if you're for trump you don't wear a mask. if you're against trump, you do. that's why i've suggested at the president occasionally wear a mask even though in most cases it's not necessary for him to do so. the president has plenty of admirers. they would follow his lead. tmd help end this political debate. the stakes are too high for this political debate about pro-trump, anti-trump masks to continue. around here senators and staff wear mask because we don't want to make each other sick. for example, i was exposed to covid-19. my prosymptomatic staff member on my way to dulles airport and
as a result had to self-quarantine for two weeks. the center physician said one reason i didn't become infected because the staff member was wearing a mask and that in the physician's word, greatly reduced the chances of exposure. it's also a pretty good way to make a statement. i like to wear my plaid mask. dr. fauci uses his mask to demonstrate his loyalty to the washington nationals. senator kaine is either a cowboy or a bandit. i'm never sure which. if you want college football to return this fall here is what coach philip fullmer says. if you really, really want to see some football this fall wear a mask. the united states is in the midst offense a very concerning rise in covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in many states. the experts in front of us have told us that washing our hands, staying apart and wearing a mask
are three of the most important ways to contain the disease and slow the spread of the virus. i'm grateful to the rules committee, the sergeant at arms, the press gallery, the capitol police, our committee staff both democratic and republican, chung czech and evan griffith and to keep us safe. we'll turn to our witnesses who we thank for being with us today. we ask you to summarize your testimony in five minutes, and then the senators will have a chance to ask a five minute round of questions. we have full participation today it looks like. should be an interesting morning. among the casualties of this dangerous and very sneaky covid-19 virus are the 75 million students who were sent home from school and college in march. add to the casualties the teachers who weren't prepared to
teach remotely and the working parents who suddenly had children at home and weren't prepared to home school. add the lost sports seasons and the once in a lifetime graduation opportunities, and then they were unprecedented dilemmas for administrators in inadequate school budgets. being sent home from school doesn't rank with the sickness and death the virus has caused. the united states has over 2.5 million cases over the virus and over 125,000 deaths according to john hopkins. while states and communities continue to take action to keep people safe nothing, though, was more disruptive to american life and nothing was headed back toward normalcy more rapidly than for those public and private schools and 6,000 colleges to reopen this fall. earlier this month this committee heard from college presidents and school leaders about their plans for safely reopening this fall. this hearing is an opportunity for an update and to hear from
the nation's top health experts on how head masters, principals, superintendents, chancellors and college presidents can open their schools safely just a few weeks from now. this committee last heard from today's four witnesses on may 12th when three of the four were quarantined and most of the senators were participating virtually. that was one of the first senate hearings in history and surely the best watched. every network carried the 2 1/2 hours of questions and statements from senators. the question before the country today is not weather to the go back to school or college or child care or work but how to do it safely. even though covid-19 is not in general hurt young children and college age students nearly as much as older and more vulnerable americans there is some health risk. when in my view the greater risk is not going back to school.
guidance for reopening schools from the american academy of pediatricians tells schools the following. our academy strongly believes all considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. the academy continues the importance of in-person learning is well documented. as there's already evidence of negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and as lessant physical and sexual abuse, substance use, depression and suicidal ideation. this in turn places children and adolescents of mormidity and in
some cases mortality. beyond the economic impact and social impact of school closures there's been impact on food security on children and families as the american academy of pediatricians. the incoming president of the massachusetts chapter of that academy of pediatricians told reporters while for most children covid-19 has not had the devastating and life threatening physical health effects that have occurred in adults the negative impact on their education, mental health and social development has been substantial, unquote. nothing can take the place of the daily face-to-face interaction our children experience when attending school in person, dr. fisher said. many american colleges overall considered the best in the world will be permanently damaged or even closed if they remain in brown university president's christina paxten's words ghost
towns. mitch daniels, the president of perd perdue wrote in a "the washington post" op-ed, quote, failure to take care of the job reopening would not only be unscientific but also an unacceptable breach of duty. so today in addition to hearing more about the concerning rise in cases in hospitalizations in some states i'd like to ask our witnesses and their statements and answers to questions to put yourselves in the place of one of america's approximately 14,000 superintendents of school districts or the principal and headmaster of one of 135,000 schools or as president or chancellor of one of 6,000 colleges and help them answer the question of how to reopen schools and colleges safely. so, dr. fauci, i hope in your opening statement or answers to questions you'll suggest steps a superintendent might take to
open schools sifly and not only how to keep children safe but to keep safe the adults, teachers, parents, grandparents with whom they come in contact. dr. hahn, will there be treatments or medicines this fall that will help speed the recovery from covid-19 or reduce the possibility of death? i believe the fear of going back to school or going anywhere these days is in large part because of the fear of severe illness or even death. if that risk can be lessened by new treatments it should increase confidence in going back to school. i'd also like to commend dr. hahn and the work the fda did to get tests on the market quickly as possible to help understand the spread of the virus. since then fda has worked out which tests have not worked as well as they should and taken step tuesday remove them from the market. that's what's supposed to happen in the urgency of a pandemic. admiral, in our last hearing you
said you expected there to be 40 to 50 million diagnostic tests available each month by september. is that still true? and exactly how does the school district go about making sure it gets those tests, and who pays for them? what are the prospects in the shark taj at the national institutes of health that there will be new, reliable and inexpensive tests so we can have even more widespread testing? and dr. redfield, you're continuing to work on updated guidelines about going back to school and college safely, and are cdc employees going to be available in our states to help work with school districts to develop their plans, and what advice do you have about the arrival of the flu season this fall at the same time as covid-19? this is a lot to discuss, but there will be time during the next 2 1/2 hours to answer most of those questions. let me quickly highlight three areas that have come up in our
four earlier hearings this month that i think need clarification, first on contact tracing. no doubt contact tracing is crucially important. it identifies the people who might have been exposed so that people who don't -- so that they don't in turn expose someone else. according to an npr report on june 18th states have already hired at least 37,000 contact tracers. state officials at john hopkins center for health security issued a report estimating the need for as many as 100,000 contact tracers. several reports suggested congress appropriate money to pay for those tracers. the reality is congress already has. on april 24th congress appropriated $11 billion, which has been sent to states and tribes for the expenses of testing. that legislation explicitly said the money could be used for
contact tracing. this is in addition to $755 million from the first emergency appropriations legislation on march 6th that could be used for contact tracing. and that's in addition to the march 27 legislation in which congress appropriated $150 billion -- i mean, $1.5 billion in the cares act for states, territories and tribes to use for covid preparedness and response. the cares act also included the $150 billion to states, but a significant amount of that $150 billion has not been spent even though it is all designated for expenses related to covid-19 which include contact tracing. for example, tennessee's governor has told me he's reserving as much as a billion of that so he could determine
and washington state has not spent as much as 1.2 billion. missouri state treasury says they've not spent about a billion. according to a report by state health officials in john hopkins an average salary for a contact tracer would be a little more than $35,000. this adds up to about $3.4 billion, so the point is congress has already sent to states plenty of money to hire all the contact tracers that are needed. second, who pays for the testing? in the cares act congress voted to make all covid-19 tests available to patients at no cost. this meant insurers would cover diagnostic tests, which detect whether a person is currently infected with the virus. and also antibody tests which indicate whether a person has had covid-19 in the past and now may have some protection in the
future. guidance from the labor department, treasury department and centers for medicare and medicaid services said last week that insurers were only required to pay for tests without patient cost sharing if a doctor orders it. i agree with that. but given that the cdc specifically recommends doctors order tests in two situations -- when a person has signs or symptoms of covid-19 or recently had contact with someone known or suspected to have covid-19 -- who pays for thesing at other times. i believe congress will need to take action to further clarify who pays for the testing at other times. for example, the school may want to do random testing. perhaps it should make an arrangement with the state to pay for that. or perhaps congress needs to provide more money to pay for that. if an auto maker wants to test all its employees at the plant every two weeks perhaps the auto
maker should pay for that or perhaps the statewide want to pay for that. that needs to be clarified. finally flu shots. cdc has said more people need to get flu shots this fall so health care workers can getter distinguish between covid-19 and the flu. cdc says a priority for all children over the age of 6 months to be vaccinated for the flu so they don't become sick and pass it to more vulnerable populations who can have more severe consequences. on january 24th. senator bernie and i hosted our first bipartisan briefing on coronavirus at a time when there were only four cases in the united states. since then this committee has had four more briefings. today is our eighth hearing on coronavirus in u.s. preparedness. last week's hearing was about steps to take this year while our eye on is on the ball to better prepare for the next pandemic. i've issued a white paper
outlining five recommendations for congress to prepare americans for the next pandemic, and that paper has received more than 350 substantive comments that are available to all members of the committee. after all senators have had a chance to ask their questions i will conclude the hearing by asking our witnesses if they have twoe or three suggestions about steps congress should take this year to deal with the next pandemic most of which will also help with this one. but this hearing is about what happens now. as administrators prepare to open schools and colleges, experts underestimated this dangerous and sneaky virus and there's still much more we don't know about it. but we do know the basic steps to take to open schools and colleges in 2020 before there is a vaccine, and those are these. social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, test, contact
trace, and isolate those expoelexposed or sick. and hopefully by the fall there will be treatments to make the consequences of the disease less severe. i look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses, school leaders and college presidents can safely reopen 135,000 schools and 6,000 colleges and also learning the latest developments on testing and treatments that we can expect during the year 2020 before vaccines arrive. senator murray. >> well, thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you to all of our witnesses for joining us here today, and of course thank you our staff for setting up the technology so we can hold this hearing safely. i want to get to the point quickly, and i'm going to be blunt about it. the covid-19 response in our country is still a disaster. 126,000 lives lost was once considered an estimate on the
high end of the spectrum. but the year is just halfway over and it is now a grim reality. we have lost more americans to covid-19 than we lose to the flu each year, than we lost to the opioid crisis last year, and more lives than we've lost in every american war except the civil war and world war ii. and despite what president trump claims this pandemic is not fading. far from it. several states are seeing rapid record setting increases, and the country just saw its largest single day increase to date. and while this public health crisis rages across the country we've seen a leadership crisis raging in the white house. as the president proves time after time he cares less about this pandemic is impacting families and communities and more about how it makes him look. just consider his appalling
continued failure on testing. president trump said anyone that wants a test can get a test. they still can't. he said testing was overrated. it is not. he said we prevailed a testing, and now he's saying we should be doing fewer tests and testing makes us look bad. well, it clearly does not and we clearly need to be doing more. the most honest thing he's said about testing is that he doesn't take responsibility at all, and that is exactly the problem. it's why congress actually took bipartisan action in the last covid-19 response bill to require the trump administration to submit a comprehensive national testing plan. that's why i'm still pushing for this administration to include more details in that plan and take more steps to ramp up testing. because we are still nowhere close to the testing and tracing
capacity we need to safely reopen our country. and ending support for federal testing sites while sitting in billions of testing funds congress provided is not going to get us there. the ongoing struggle to get president trump to take testing seriously should be a stark warning to congress that when it comes to vaccines we can't just leave this administration to its own devices. we have to hold it accountable. we know this pandemic will not end until we have a vaccine that is safe and effective that can be widely produced and equitably distributed and that is free and accessible to everyone, which is why we need a comprehensive national vaccine plan from the trump administration as soon as possible. given the testing plan which congress only received after forcing the administration's hand was too little, too late.
we need to take the opportunity we have right now to get a vaccine plan much earlier and avoid the missteps we've seen with testing. so i hope republicans will work with me in a bipartisan way once again to require this administration to put forward a plan. we need the trump administration to show us how they will ensure a vaccine is safe and is effective. i'm as eager as anyone for a vaccine, but this isn't just about doing something fast. it is about doing it right. that's why we need to know the process for developing a vaccine. it's rigorous, inclusive, transparent and it is science driven. but in light of the hydroxychloroquine debacle and the removal of dr. bright for questioning the administration's efforts to promote that unproven treatment we cannot take for
granted this process will be free of political influence. we have to demand serious oversight. in order to give the public full confidence that a vaccine is safe and effective the administration needs to commit now to being fully transparent about the standards a vaccine will be expected to meet in releasing the clinical trial data that fda uses to evaluate safety and effectiveness. we also need a plan detailing how to produce and distribute vaccines nationwide and make sure everyone can actually get them. we saw with testing how avoidable bottlenecks create damaging delays when the federal government refuses to step in and leave like it needs to do in a time of crisis. and unfortunately seesaw how existing health kbis parities are exacerbated without a plan to overcome them as even the incomplete data we currently have shows black, latino and
tribal communities have significantly less access to testing than white communities. this is an injustice that we must not repeat when it comes to vaccines. we also need a plan to guarantee vaccines are free so that cost is not a barrier for patients. and it's worth noting we still need to act to make covid-19 treatment available at no cost to you. and the plan must address barriers like vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, especially one of the most prominent verses of misinformation so far has been the president of the united states. while the discovery of an eventual vaccine may still be far off these are issues we need the administration to answer now. so i hope republicans will work with me to require the administration to submit a comprehensive vaccine plan and address many of the other urgent issues stemming from this
pandemic. our businesses, our workers, teachers, students and families do not have what they need to safely return to work or school, period. our medical system, doctors, nurses, front line workers continue to face unimaginable risk, stress, and fatigue. they need congress to step up to help them continue to save lives. and families need us to continue to ensure they have basic services and can keep food on their table. the house passed the heroes act 46 days ago to get more relief to front line workers, family and businesses. it is well pastime for leader mcconnell and senate republicans to sit down with fellow democrats and get to work. there's no question our country is still in crisis. and every day the senate fails to take action is a day we allow it to get worse. i also hope, mr. chairman, we will be able to have another
hearing on this crisis soon with administration officials whose testimony is long overdue. secretary azar, secretary devos and secretary scalia. i look forward to our witnesses and testimony and the questions we have. >> thank you, senator murray. we've asked each witness now to summarize his testimony in five minutes. please to welcome our witnesses. each of you are making significant contributions to our government's response to covid-19. helping us go safely back to school, back to work. we're grateful for your service to our country. our first witness is dr. anthony fauci. he is director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases at the national institute of health. he's held his position since 1984. he's led the agency's research
related to hiv/aids, influenza, ebola and other infectious diseases. he's advised six presidents on domestic and global health issues. he's one of the principle artects of the emergency plan for aids relief. in 2014 he was involved in treating ebola patients and nih worked on vaccine trials for ebola. dr. robert redfield, the director for the centers of disease control and prevention, cdc. for more than 30 years he's been involved with clinical research related to chronic human infections and especially hiv. he was founding director of the u.s. militaries hiv research program and retired after 20 years of service with u.s. army medical corp.
he overseas the development of the department's public health policy recommendations. specific to covid-19 response the admiral has taken on testing to focused on increasing the number of tests we can do with kp existing technology. this federal service includes directing the defense science office of the advance research projects agency and a variety of other important responsibilities. finally we will hear from doctor stephen hahn. commissioner of the u.s. food and drug administration, the fda. before joining fda he held leadership positions as chief medical executive at the university of texas md anderson cancer center is chair of the department of radiation oncology at the university of pennsylvania. earlier in his career he was senior investigator at the
national cancer institute at the national institutes of health. he's been commander of the u.s. public health service commission corp in 2005. we welcome our witnesses. dr. fauci, welcome. let's begin with you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, ranking member, murray, members of the committee. thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss briefly with you today the role of the national institutes of health and research addressing covid-19. and as you indicated, mr. chairman, i will during the question period and alluding to in the presentation address some of the issues regarding schools. the naidnih strategic plan involves four major components. the first is improve the fundamental understanding of the biology of the virus and immune response to the virus in order to better inform us of the development of diagnostics,
therapeutics and vaccines. some of the work that has come out of that program right now informs very greatly how we will address vaccine developments particularly understanding the confirmation of the components of the virus that induced an appropriate immune response. in addition, we will develop and are developing animal models. aprupro of what you mentioned of children in school we have a program called heros which is determining the incident and transmiss ability among children, a very important issue when you talk about opening school and the impact that might have. in addition the development of diagnostics, point of care specific diagnostics under the rad x program, including the rad x up for underserved populations. third, to characterize and test therapeutics, you mentioned the importance of this as we opened up schools. there are a number of programs
very active that have already shown efficacy or not in some drugs as well as a number of clinical trials that are ongoing. one in particular was the first randomized placebo control trialed showing that the drug remdesiv remdesivir diminishes about 32% the time to recovery. in addition a we have another study combining this with an anti-inflammatory agent. next we have vaccines. as several for mentioned it's extremely important to have safe and effective vaccines available for everyone in this country as well as globally. in that regard we put together myself and some of my colleagues and published in science magazine a few weeks ago what we called a strategic approach to coronavirus 19 vaccine research and development. it's not a comprehensive plan
about every aspect of vaccine, but it is a strong plan regarding the research and development pathway. and what we have done in this is that we have what's called a harminized effect because we know there are many vaccines in trial now at various stages, and what we did in the federal government thank tuesday the generosity of the congress has put a considerable amount of money in order to harmonize the trials of multiple candidates from different companies so that we have common end points, common data and safety monitoring board and common immunological parameters being funded and are being pursued. in a addition there are a number of platforms being pursued we don't have all our eggs in a basket. right now getting ready as we approach next month going
through phase three trials and some will be staggered early on. there is no guarantee and anyone that's been involved in vaxnology will tell you that we will have a safe and effective vaccine but we are optimistic that we will at least no the extent of efficacy some time in the winter and early part of next year. again, working with the companies and investment made by this congress hopefully there will be doses available by the beginning of next year. these are the things we feel aspirationally hopeful about, and we will continue to pursue this. i'll stop there, mr. kmarman, a and be happy to answer questions later. >> thank you, dr. fauci. dr. redfield, welcome. >> good morning, chairman alexander, ranking member murray and members of the committee. i want to thank you for the opportunity to testify today along with my hhs colleagues. the cosid 19 pandemic is the
most significant public health challenge as we have faced as a nation over a century. in the united states daily cases are increasing after an extended decline. we're seeing significant increases in the southeast and southwest nations of this region. the number of jurisdictions and upwards trajectory has continued to increase. now 29 of 55 jurisdictions fall into this category. the evidence tells us these cases are driven by many factors to include increased testing, community transmission and outbreaks in the settings such as nursing homes and occupational settings. hospitalizations now are going up in 12 states. and as of this weekend daily death now has increased in the state of arizona. cdc is closely monitoring these increases and have 48 teams with more than 140 staff currently deployed in 20 states and two
territories. cdc is providing technical expertise to the health departments and epidemiology, contact tracing, infection prevention and control and communication. beyond providing this critical boots on the ground cdc is working with states and community and other ways. cdc is speaking with the states, tribal, local and territorial health departments on a daily basis to develop strategies to stop covid while reopening businesses and schools. the initial guidance for institutes of higher learning which shared in march in the k-12 setting we shared in february. both these guidances have been updated since and over the past several months. as more information becomes available we'll continue to disseminate that more prodly. cdc released consolidated recommendations for covid testing including interim testing guidelines interest nursing homes as well as testing options for high density critical infrastructure
workplaces after a covid case is identified. testing guidance for higher education and k-12, the higher education should be posted today and k-12 later this week. these recommendations are consistent with previously published testing guidelines and are meant to supplement not replace the guidance of jurisdictions. cdc continues to advance science around the covid-19 impact and certain populations and those who are at heightened risk for severe outcomes. our most recent analysis of the united states case data from the pandemic hospitalizations are six times hilar and deaths 12 times higher among those with reportedly underlying conditions compared to those who did not have these conditions. we've expanded the list where the evidence is clear that they put people at higher risk of severeness. these conditions include chronic kidney disease, copd, having a weakened immune system from a
transplant, sickle cell disease and type 2 diabetes. our analysis also provides further evidence that racial and ethnic populations are disproportionately affected by this epidemic. while data is the backbone of this response readily available test, comprehensive contact tracing, timeally isolation of known cases and quarantine to break the transmission. we are not defenseless against his disease. we have powerful tools at our disposable. social distancing, wear a face cover in public and be disciplined about the frequent hand washing. it is critical that we all take the personal responsibility to slow the transmission of covid-19 and embrace the universiti universiti universal use of face coverings. i ask those that are listening to spread the word. before i close i'd like to speak
briefly about how cdc is assisting the front lines of our health departments to fight covid. with your support cdc has awarded $12 billion to 64 jurisdiction. data monitorization is under way. number of contact tracers have grown 345%. the disease impacts us all, and it's going to take all of us working together to stop it. together i believe we can achieve the possible. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, dr. redfield. >> chairman, alexander, ranking member murray, distinguished members of the committee it's good to see all of you again. on march 12th secretary azar requested i lead the coordination of testing efforts within the department. to be clear although i am assuming some of my traditional
duties as the assistant secretary i am maintaining my role of coordinating testing including now the nih diagnostics program along with dr. collins to assure that innovations are immediately translated into practice. in order to get back safely to work and school the overarching most critical and essential action we must first accomplish is to control the virus. meaning rapidly extinguishing any outbreaks and minimizing community transmission. all of us are concerned about data indicating a rise in infections and now an up tick in hospitalizations and deaths even as other states and majority of counties are maintaining a low infection burden. knowing what we know now about asymptomatic transmission and the fact we are in a much better position today in terms of our mitigation strategies, ppe and
testing we can reverse these concerning trends if we work together. first we must take personal responsibility and be disciplined about our own behavior. maintain physical distancing. wear a face covering whenever you can't physically distance. wash your hands. stay at home if you feel sick. inyou have in close contact with someone infected or in a gathering without proper precautions get tested. shield the eldserly and vulnerable of any age and follow the guidelines for opening up america again. the criteria are very specific and are as relevant today as when we released them. in addition this week we are initiating surge testing in putmal communities of higher concern in coordination with state and local officials. now back to schools and businesses. as dr. redfield stated the cdc will release recommendations on
k-12, institutions of higher education and general business reopening. these will include considerations for integrating testing especially surveillance testing into a comprehensive strategy. as you asked me, mr. chairman, if your a superintendent of a school system or a president of a united states, number one, apply the cdc guidelines in consultation with your state and local health foigs officials so that testing is a part of your comprehensive plan which should also include clear mechanisms to isolate students. number two, assure your testing needs are incorporated into your state testing plans. as we outlined in the national testing strategy each state has developed and will continue to build upon a customized state testing plan developed in full coordination with the federal government. the next iteration covering july to december is due on july 10th. these state plans drive the
allocation of certain scarce resources. for example, in may and june the federal government has distributed nearly 26 million collection swabs and over 19 million tubes of transport media. hhs also prioritizes point of care tests according to state specific needs. there are also strategies particularly relevant to surveillance testing especially in businesses. for example, pooling of samples, meaning combining two or more samples and possibly up to ten into a single test makes sense where the prevalence of infection is low. in such pooled surveillance testing can be conducted in a university research live outside an environment. i would like to close by recognizing my fellow officers in the united states public
health service commission corp, the uniformed service that i lead. 4,536 officers have deployed to support the pandemic response. kmec exemplifying the care and compassion all of us have felt during this pandemic. i thank each and every one of the families and thank all of you in congress for supporting our training needs and establishment of a ready reserve corp to supplement our rank during inevitable future national emergencies. thank you for the opportunity to provide these remarks. >> thank you, admiral. welcome, dr. hahn. >> thank you chairman alexander, ranking member murray and members of the health committee. i thank you for the support you have provided. fda has a vital role in the
federal government's response to the pandemic. one of our core missions is to advance the public health by helping to speed the medical products that are safe and effective. we have provided appropriate regulatory flexibility tuesday assure that the american public has critical access to medical products and safe food in confidence our decisions are based on medicine and science. since the public health emergency was declared fda has issued more than 100 emergency use authorizations for protective tests, personal equipment and other drug products. and we issued more than 50 guidance documents to ensure the continuity of health care in the food supply. i'm pleased to announce today fda is taking action to aid the timely development of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent covid-19 by providing guidance to developers with recommendations on the data needed to facilitate
manufacturing, clinical development and approval. we recognize the urgent need to develop a face and effective vaccine to prevent covid-19, and we want to work clabt receively to accelerate these efforts. while the fda is committed to help expedite this work we will not cut corners in our decision making and we're making clear in our guidance to meet the approval. this is particularly important as we know some people are skeptical of vaccine development efforts. the update strongly includes most places affected by covid-19. we also have information in this guidance about including women
who are pregnant as well as for pediatric assessments of safety and effectiveness. the american people should know we have not lost sight of our responsibility to maintain or regulatory independence and decisions related to all products including covid-19 vaccines are based on sound science and the data. this is commitment the american public can have confidence in and i will continue to uphold personally. while vaccine research is ongoing rapid testing and therapeutic development can aid in the safe return to school, college and the workplace. fda is constantly evaluating new data we receive on testing so we could promote the development of new and better tests and remove tests that are not reliable from the market. and we have put into place an initiative to accelerate the development of treatments called the coronavirus treatment acceleration program. we've seen some of the consequences of that program such as the authorization of
remdesivir and the recent information regarding other therapeutics that might be a benefit to patients with covid-19. we are working day and night to provide guidance to and review proposals from companies, scientists and researchers who are developing therapies for covid-19. we are now preparing for the next phase of addressing this evolving crisis. it is mission critical that the agency constantly evaluate whether our processes are maximal to protect the public health, and therefore we are beginning a comprehensive realtime review and assessment of our actions to date to address the covid-19 pandemic, and i'm glad to answer questions about that review. i want to thank for more than 17,000 fda employees who have been working night and day to help expedite american products but also provide the necessary oversight with the appropriate science and data. we know the virus remains with us. fda is committed to doing the critical work to get to the
point in which the country and americans will deem the safe to return to work and school as quickly as possible. i'm proud of the many and women of the fda. i can assure you the fda will continue to provide leadership, expertise, guidance and information as we continue to address this unprecedented challenge and fulfill our mission to protect and promote public health. thank you and i appreciate and look forward to your questions. >> thank you, dr. hahn. and thank tuesday each of our witnesses. we'll now begin a rund of five minute questions. all the senators are participating today -- almost all, and i would ask the senators and witnesses to keep each question within five minutes. in our community we understand there are health risks for children going back to school. but we've concluded that the
risk to their education, mental health and social development is a greater risk if and social de is a greater risk if they don't go back to school. what would your advice be as school superintendent as children go back to school in a few weeks to keep it safe? >> it is an important question, but i think we need to point out it really will depent on the outbreak where the particular school is. one of the things we want to emphasize and have been emphasizing is take a look at where you are in the particular area of the so-called opening america again. are you at the gateway, phase 1, phase 2, phase 3? the cdc has guidelines about the opening of schools at various stages of those checkpoints.
the basic fundamental goal would be, as you possibly can, to get the children back to school and to use the public health efforts as a tool to help get children back to school. let me explain what i mean. in other words, if we adhere to guidelines of what we've heard in many of these presentations you've just heard about the physical distancing in the community, the use of masks, things like that, that will help to keep the level of infection in the community down which will then make it easier to get the children back to school. if you're then in an area where you have a certain amount of infection dynamics, there are things that can creatively be done about modifying things like the school schedule, alternate days, morning versus evening, allowing under certain circumstances online virtual
lessons. those are the kinds of things that we need to consider, but also importantly, always make the goal that it is very important to get the children back to school for the unintended negative consequences that occur when we keep them out of school. >> thank you, dr. fauci. dr. redfield, one of the concerns would be that children who j who, generally speaking, haven't being nearly as damaged as adults, particularly elderly adul adults, by this virus might carry the virus to their teachers, administrators, or parents, or grandparents at home. it seems to me the availability of treatments this fall, medicine for the environments that reduce the risk of death could be very important in increasing confidence in going back to school. you mentioned some of those in
your testimony. are there others? what will the availability of treatments be this fall, and specifically what about so-called antibody cocktails that were developed for ebola and approved by the fda. >> i think that would be a great question also for dr. fauci. i'm going to make a small statement. he may want to add to it. clearly we do have remdesiver as you mentioned and plasma that steve hahn has commented on that are currently under evaluation and would potentially be available. >> since i have just a minute, let me go to dr. hahn, and he can answer too. >> it's been authorized based on its reduction in hospitalization
days. steroids were mentioned. convalescent plasma, we've got a large program at the may owe clinic, and it's been found to be safe in over 20,000 patients. we'll be passing the data along to barta, who's responsible for the program. i think the data will help us. we have a number of sponsors who have come in for the studies. we're well in for the treatment. they're synthetic antibodies that will provide -- the theory is it will provide protection against infection of the virus, and we're hopeful that those studies will provide us information about their effectiveness and safety. >> so you're optimistic there will be more than one treatment available this fall for teachers, administrators, older adults? >> yes, sir, i'm optimistic. >> thank you very much.
senator murray. >> thank you very much to all of our witnesses. we all very much appreciate your service and your work. dr. fauci, the last time you testified before this committee, you warned us of needless suffering and death as states begin reopening too early, and just over a month later now, we're seeing a record number of cases. we do not have enough tests and we did not have enough contact tracers, and just yesterday cdc's doctor said we have too much virus to control in the u.s. arguing, and i quote, this is really the beginning. our strategy hasn't worked. i wanted to ask you. what do the federal government and the more than 30 states with rising case numbers need do to reverse this trend? >> thank you very much for that question, senator murray. i am also quite concerned about what we are seeing evolve right now in several of the states. as you know, in four of the
states, florida, texas, california, and arizona, more than 50% of the new infections are in those areas where we're seeing surgean seeing surges. what we need to do is when states start to try to open again, they need to follow the guidelines that have been very carefully laid out with regard to checkpoints. what we've seen in several states are different iterations of that. perhaps in some, they're going too quickly and skipping over some of the checkpoints, but even in states in which the leadership in the form of the governors and mayors did it right with the right recommendations, what we saw visually in clips and in photographs of individuals in the community doing an
all-or-none phenomena, which is dangerous. by that i mean either locked down or being in the open in bars, being in crowds, not wearing masks, not paying attention to physical distancing. we have a responsibility both as individuals and as a society that we all have to play a part in that. what we saw were a lot of people who maybe felt that because they think they are invulnerable -- and we know many young people are not because they're getting serious disease -- that, therefore, their getting infected has nothing at all to do with anyone else when, in fact, it does because when a person gets infected, they may not be sis tymptomatic, but the could pass it on to someone else
who passes it on to someone else. we've got to get that message out that we are all in this together, and if we're going to contain this, we've got to contain it together. >> i assume that would mean that elected and community leaders need to moderate good public health behavior and wear a mask. >> we recommend masks for everyone on the outside. anyone who comes into contact in a crowded area, you should avoid crowds where possible, and when you're outside and do not have the capability of maintaining distance, you should wear a mask at all times. >> thank you. dr. redfield, last week a doctor who served under former president george w. bush said she would have created a national vaccine that addresses the science, development,
uptake, an monitoring of a vaccine saying, quote, we know this is in our future and we're not ready for it. i couldn't agree more. that plan has to detail how the federal government will scale manufacturing, coordinate the supply chain so we avoid the missteps we saw with testing, needs to combat misinformation and vaccine hesitancy, and make sure vaccine distribution addresses health disparities and a lot more. dr. redfield, do you agree a plan like that is needed? >> senator, i think it's very important that we have an integrated plan for this vaccine. >> when can we expect one? >> well, i'm going to ask dr. hahn if he'd like to comment. i know recently they had a vaccine planned at least for the fda's perspective. cdc is working on the issues you said i think is so important in building vaccine confidence in this country. >> can you tell us when cdc will
be giving us their plan since they'll be writing it? >> we're developing the plan as we speak. and, again, to keep building on the efforts we have to build vaccine confidence in this country is really critical. there will be a plan for the distribution of this vaccine, manufacturing of this vaccine -- >> couple of weeks? couple of months? do you have any estimate? >> it's currently in development within the group, and i anticipate we'll see that plan in the near weeks ahead, senator. >> weeks, not days or months? >> it's a collective effort we're doing together with comprehension warp-speed. but the cdc has been working on this plan literally for 12 weeks. >> mr. chairman, we need to see
that plan. we need to know what it is, the public needs to know what it is. i would urge we see that plan as soon as possible so we all know what to expect. >> thank you, senator murray. senator burr. >> thank you, mr. chairman. after working on pandemic policy now for 17 years, i'm reminded the morning, tony fauci has been doing it twice as long as i have and most of you have been doing it as well. i urge my colleagues, pay attention to what each of these individuals say because some things are predictable up here. congress is a full-fledged partner and funds things when there's an urgent need, a threat that's out there. i know, tony, you've seen over the years when there's not that threat, things get shelved like platforms that we could have developed and had better measures today, platforms that
then could address vaccines at a much faster pace than maybe what we're doing. but we spend more time with the blame game than we do with focuses on how the future should look. while all of us, members of congress and people within government, wish we could get back to normalcy, your agencies and members of congress are also charged to make sure we map the future so future generations have better protections than what we have. that's why i plaud the chaappla chairman for his white paper. we need you to be brutally honest where changes need to be made and don't need to be made. i think you would agree with me testing and surveillance has not been the best performance by cdc. i don't want to dwell on where we come up short. share with these members and myself, what can we expect over
the next several months from cdc that will be different than what the past has looked like. >> thank you, senator, for your question. i think the cdc will continue to work with the state, local, tributary health departments to work to capacity. i think we've known for decades the there's not been a significant amount of work. these are critical infrastructure issues that the reality are they have been underinvested. the cdc right now is probably providing 50% to 70% of all public health funding to each state. we need to have a much more robust investment in these core
capabilities. what you will see with congress acting, cdc has provided now $12 billion to the local, state, territorial tribal health departments to develop that core capability that we'd like to have built over the last several decades so there was enhanced testing. complicated because this virus is so asymptomatic for so many. the diagnosis, contact tracing, isolation are going to be inhibiinhib i inhibitive for so many. they're working with the local jurisdictions. they're going to have them in pl place for the rest of the year. there's going to be enhanced surveillance, isolation to
fwli bring this up to date and under control. i think as those of you know when i was given the opportunity to do this job very early on, within a month, i recognized that the core capabilities of our public health infrastructure is not there particularly with regard to data analysis. that is in progress. it can't happen too soon. we're appreciative of the support that congress has given. and i do think it's fundamentally critical to bring the system and the data personnel that you have, and we thank you for your efforts. and as we need to hire individuals strategically, we will do that, to make sure the premier health agency has what it needs. i will say the other big issue we have to correct is that our
public health system has that data. >> dr. hahn, i think you have used your authorities under p.a.p.a. in a very effective way. the fda has cut the red tape and reviewed the standards. you specifically mentioned innovative clinical trials and designs and the use of real-world data as areas where they've gained ground with response to covid. how can you make sure this progress is maintained long after the coronavirus response is over? >> thank you, senator burr. the critical issues you bring up, some of the things you're bringing up, working with developers, we will continue. part of our review, our actions to date, so a mid-action review,
will help with how we move forward. we'll look at the review cycle and innovative trials as you mentioned. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i hope you or another member will allow dr. fauci at some point today to make any comments on the reports that there's a new flu that the chinese have identified and how that might affect us in the future in this country. >> well, dr. fauci, why don't you do that now. you do have anything to say about a swine flu? >> the chinese over the last week or two have identified a virus in the environment. it is not yet shown to be infecting humans, but it is exhibiting what we call reassortment capabilities. in other words, when you get
brand-new virus that turns out to be a pandemic virus, it's either due to mutations and/or the reassortment of genes, and they're seeing virus in swine or pigs now that have characteristics of the 2009 h1n1, of the original 1918, which many of our flu viruses have remnants in that, as well as segments from other hosts like swine. when they all mix up together and they contain some of the elements that might make them susceptible to being transmitted to humans, you always have the possibility that you might have another swine flu-type outbreak as we had in 2009. it's something that's still in the stage of examination. it's not so-called an immediate threat where you're seeing infections, but it's something we need to keep our eye on just the way we did in 2009 with the
emergence of the swine flu. it's called g-4 is the name of it. >> thank you. senator sanders. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and let me thank all of our panelists for being here and the great work they're doing on this pandemic. let me ask a question that has just bothered me lately. all of you and most americans understand how important social distancing is. we're told over and over again, the chairman told us at the beginning of this meeting, stay apart, at least six feet apart if you can. just the other day, american airlines announced they're going to fill up all of their planes. others are doing the same. you're going to having people going from california to new york, five, six hours, sitting inches apart.
and you've got buses where people are packed in like sardines. my question is why hasn't the government, whether it's the cdc or the department of transportation issued guidelines prohibiting those violations of what we all know to be common sense? who wants to -- dr. inferior chch fauci, do you want to start out? >> thank you, senator. i'm not the cdc, but i would be happy to make a comment on that and bob maybe also. obviously that's something of concern. i'm not sure exactly what went into that decision-making. i would hope there would be something to mitigate against that because i know as we've said and i continue to repeat it that avoiding crowds, staying distant, and when in a situation like that, wear a mask. i think in the confines of an airplane, that becomes more problematic. >> chairman, i understand the mask thing, but doesn't it sound
silly and in violation of everything you've been talking about, to have people sitting next to each other for five or six hours in an airplane or crowded into a bus, and my question is why hasn't -- you know, the president has issued a lot of executive orders. why haven't we stopped that activity and told the airlines and bus companies that is unhealthy? >> senator, i appreciate your question, and i think it's a critical area. i can tell you when they announced that the other day, obviously there was substantial disappointment with the american airlines. a number of airlines had decided to keep the middle seat thing. i can't say it's not critical to the cdc. we don't think it's the right message as you point out, again, we think it's really important in individuals, whether it's a bus or a train or a plane to
have social distancing or at least reliable face covering. >> thank you. i just hope very much that the cdc or the appropriate agency basically tells these companies that that is unacceptable, they're endangering the lives of other people. let me go to another question. i don't have a lot of time, so i would appreciate brief answers. at the university of washington, the institute of health there indicated if 95% of the american people were to wear masks, we could save some 30,000 lives. a number of countries including south korea, france, turkey, and austria have provided low cost or free mask to all people, something i believe in. would you support the effort to greatly increase the production of high-quality masks in this country and distribute them free of charge to every household in
america, dr. fauci or anyone else who wants to jump in on that? >> yes. i think masks are extremely important, and i think what you mentioned is just as important. there's no doubt the mask protects you and protects others. it's people protecting each other. anything that furthers the use of masks, whether it's giving out free masks or any other mechanism, i ampth thoroughly i favor of. >> i called on an environment that, we to provide universal masks. >> when you point out universal masks, would you be supporting the increased production of high-quality masks and basically distributing free of charge to every household in america? because i think that's going to save tens of thousands of lives.
would you agree? >> yes, sir, i agree that that is very important because we need to support mask wearing. i would also point out that dr. cadillac has asked for hundreds of millions of cloth face coverings to be distributed. i wear them. they're white. and i recommend them for the american people. >> thank you. the last question. all of us hope to god that a good safe vaccine will be developed as soon as possible. but that vaccine may not mean anything to a lower income person who might not be able to afford it. i happen to believe that we should make these vaccines -- by the way, as you all know, federal government, our tax dollars, are going to companies
creating the vaccine. that's okay. would you agree with me after that kind of investment, we should make sure every american in this country should get a vaccine regardless of their income? >> yes. >> okay. anybody else want to comment on that? >> yes, senator, agreed. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> well, good. thank you all very much. >> thank you, senator sanders. senator paul. >> thank you. fatal deceit is the concept that can never fully grasp the millions of complex individual interactions occurring simultaneously in the marketplace. it is a fate tall conceit to believe any one person or small group of people has the knowledge necessary to direct an economy or dictate public health
behavior. i think government experts need to show caution in their prognostications. it's important to realize that if society meekly submits to an expert and that expert is wrong, a great deal of harm may occur when we allow one man's policy or one group of small men and women to be foisted on an entire nation. take for example government experts who continue to call for schools and day care to stay closed or that recommend restrictions that make it impossible for a school to function. for a time there may not have been enough information about coronavirus in children, but now there is. there are examples from all across the united states and around the world that show that young children rarely spread the virus. let's start in europe. 22 countries have reopened their schools and have seen no discernible increases in cases. these graphs behind me show no
surge when schools open. the redline is where the schools opened. there is data from austria, belgium, denmark, france, germany, netherlands, no spike when schools are opened. contact tracing studies in china, iceland, britain, and the netherlands failed to find a single case of child-to-adult infection. here at home child care for essential workers continue to be available in some states throughout the pandemic. brown university researchers collected data on day cares that remained open during the pandemic. over 25,000 kids in their study. they found that only .16% of children got inspected and there was 1,000 staff. the ymca put forward statistics as well. there were no reports of
coronavirus outbreaks or clusters. a doctor of johns hopkins writes there is converging evidence the coronavirus is not transmitted by kids. yesterday it was said we need the kids back in school. they even cite mounting evidence that children are less likely to contract the virus. central planners have enough knowledge somehow to tell a nation of some 330 million people what they can and can't do. perhaps our planners might think twice before they weigh in on effort subject. perhaps our government experts might hold their tongue before expressing the opinion whether we can play nfl football or major league baseball, not in october. perhaps our experts might think
twice before telling the whole world a vaccine might not impact herd immunity. we don't know. these are forecasts that may well be wrong. perhaps our experts might consider the undue fear they're instilling in teachers who are now afraid go back to work. no one knows the answers to these questions. we shouldn't presume that a group of experts somehow knows what's best for everyone. only decentralized power and decision-making based on millions of individualized situations can arrive at what risk and behaviors each individual will choose. that's what america was founded on, not a herd with washington telling us what to do and like sheep we blindly follow. this all begs the question. when are we going to tell them the truth that it's okay to take their kids back to school?
dr. fauci, every day we seem to hear from you things we can't do. but when you're asked, can we go back to school? i don't hear much certitude at all. well, maybe. it depends. all the evidence around the world shows there's no surge. all the evidence shows it's rare. we've so politicized this and made it politically correct, the w.h.o. says it's rare. what happens when an expert gives her opinion? she's blackballed and the report she refers to is taken off the website. when you to that scientist's speech and try to click on the link, the w.h.o. has screened it from us because something she said was not politically correct. guess what is it's rare for kids to transmit this. i don't hear that coming from you. all i hear is we can't do this, we can't do that, we can't play baseball. even that's not based on the
science. we wouldn't ban school in october. you might close some schools when they get the flu. we seem to not be so presumptuous that we know everything. my question is can't you give us a little bit more on school so we can get back to school, that there's a great deal of evidence and the kids aren't getting this, it's rare, and, yes, we can open the schools? >> mr. chairman, do i have a little bit of time? >> that's well over five minutes. >> thank you. >> please answer the question. >> so very quickly, senator paul, i agree with so much of what you say, people putting opinions out without data. sometimes you have to make is extrapolations because you're in a position where you need to give some sort of recommendation. if you were listening -- and i think you were -- to my opening
statement and my response to one of the questions, i feel very strongly we need do whatever we can to get the children back to school. i think we're in lock agreement with that. the other thing i'd like to clarify very briefly is that i -- when things get into press of what i supposedly said, i didn't say. i never said we can't play a certain sport. what happens is the people in the sport industry, they could either be people from the players association, owners, people involved in the health of the plays ask me opinions regarding certain facts about the spread of the virus, what the dynamics are, i give it, and then it gets interpreted that i'm saying you can't play this sport or you can't play that sport. i agree with you. i'm completely unqualified to tell you whether you can play a sport or not. the only thing i can do is to the best of my ability give you the facts and evidence
associated with what i know about this outbreak. thank you. >> we need more optimism. >> all right. senator casey. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much for the hearing, and i want to thank our witnesses for their public service. mr. chairman, let me start with dr. hahn. and then i'll move to the admiral. dr. hahn, i want to move to vaccines. as your testimony indicates and as we've been discussing over time, as researchers work to develop vaccines to protect against covid-19, it's important that the final fda approved products have the full confidence in the american people. a vaccine doesn't help if people don't choose to, in fact, be vaccinated. so my first question is given that we've seen very high rates of both vaccine refusal as well as skepticism, what role can the
fda play in the coming months to earn the public's trust that the covid-19's vaccines are safe and effective, that's question number one. and the second question is what steps can you take as fda commissioner to bolster public confidence? >> thank you, senator, for that question. i couldn't agree more that public confidence in vaccines is so important. so to your first question, we have an obligation to use all of our scientific knowledge, regulatory framework to ensure that any vaccine that comes before us whether for authorization or approval meets our stringent standards for safety and effectiveness. one of the reasons i provided my initial statement is to get clarity with what the fda expects with respect to the data. we want to see certain parts of
the data so we can demonstrate to the nation, the world, the american people, that we're following the rigorous standards with respect to safety and efficacy. the other thing we've done is draw a very bright line between the fda and our regulatory independence and how many are putting forth plans for us. we're providing assistance to the sponsors. we will maintain our regulatory independence. ly not prejudge. the agency will not prejudge any decision. we will use the science and data. with respect to what i can do personally, senator, i will continue to be a voice, emphasizing the regulatory independence. we have a number of communications in progress to communicate to the american people that the standards we're going to uphold are firm. they're rooted in science and data, and they will ensure we
meet the high standards of the fda with respect to safety and efficacy. >> thank you very much. just so i can get my question in to the admiral, i want to ask about testing and insurance coverage. testing as you know and as we've emphasized in these hearings is so fundamental in order to prevent the spread of covid-19. congress acted upon that knowledge by mandating full coverage of covid-19, diagnos c diagnostic, and antibody testing. we've indicated americans shouldn't have to pay a dime for covid testing. but we're hearing alarming reports of people not being tested for one of two reasons. they're under the impression they have to pay for testing and
others who are tested are received surprise medical bills. there's guidance that appears to be in conflict with professional intent and medical guidance. i ask you, admiral, can you ensure the american people that the department of health and human services will fulfill the intent of the families first bill and the c.a.r.e.s. act and ensure that the american people will be provided wide access to covid-19 tests without cost or limitation? >> so, thank you, senator. i want to thank all of you for emphasizing the importance of testing and eliminating any barriers that there could be. i can't speak for the department. i certainly speak as the assistant secretary and testing person that we firmly believe and support the concept of no cost testing. there should not be a
disincentive in any single way to get the diagnostic test you need to get tested during screening or theer is o seer ie. >> thank you. senator collins. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. ant i want to thank all of our witnesses today for your dedication and hard work. it's really been important. the chairman raised a very important question about who pays for the testing when a person has no symptoms and no known exposure to the virus. and i would add another key question, and that is how are such tests even accessed?
these are critical questions for the reopening of schools and for the thousands of jobs and tourism industry upon which the economy depends. in maine, for tourists to come and visit, that out-of-state visitor, one option, is to show a recent negative covid test. the problem is that when hotel owners in maine surveyed testing sites in ten states, they found that 90% of tests for travel purposes were denied. now, this lack of access to tests is devastating for reopening maine's tourism
business businesses. one innkeeper told me last june she had an okay ccupancy rate o 94%. this year it was 6%. you can imagine the impact on that inn. given the impact on reopening schools and jobs in the tourism and other industries, how is the federal government working with states to better match demand for testing with supply and to overcome these geographic variations? admiral, i would direct that question to you. >> thank you, ma'am. i will try to be brief and not take much of your time. we were very careful in our prioritization that we do prioritize persons without symptoms who are prioritized by health departments or
carolinaicarolina i carolinaish clinicians for any reason. that is a priority that if it's important for the state, those asymptomatic individuals can be screened. the second issue, again to be brief, we have worked individually with every single state to work on the context of it with the cdc. every week shipments of the basic supplies go to every single state according to their state testing plans. we keat we keep a little for reserve. we will match those state by
state. >> i hope that you will help us get that word out to testing sites in states from which a lot of tourists usually come to maine. that would be very helpful to s us. dr. fauci, let me turn to you. earlier this month there was a plan for safely returning to campus this fall that recognizes the importance of testing and the need to include financially struggling institutions in partnerships in order to make sufficient testing protocols possible. you last week spoke about the possibility of the development of pool testing strategies, and as i understand that, this would allow more people to be tested
using fewer resources. and the medical director of stanfo stanford's virology lab suggests that this makes particular sense in areas with low rates of covid-19 where you would expect the large majority of tests to be negative. could you expand on the possibility of expanding pool testing and tell us more about that. >> yes. thank you for the question, senator. what that really is f you want to get a feel for the penetrants of infection in a community, rather than testing multiple each individual person, which takes resources and time, what you do -- and you can do a statistical analysis of not losing sensitivity by pooling, let's say 10 or 15 or 5 together -- you put all the tests together and you do one test. if that test is negative, then
you know those ten people are all negative. so instead of utilizing ten tests, you've utilized one test. then you get another test of, we'll say, ten or so. and if you find one is positive, then you go backtrack and figure out who that person is. and if you do the mathematical calculation, you can save a lot of time, a lot of resources, and use the testing for a variety of other things that you would need. so it's a really good tool. it can be used in any number of circumstance, at the community level or even in schools if you want dodd that. it clearly can be extrapolated to that. >> thank you so much. that sounds like an excellent technique for our schools to use. >> thank you, senator collins. senator baldwin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank all of our
witnesses today for joining us. like so many members of this committee, i'm concerned about new outbreaks and increasing cases. certainly i've seen them in my home state of wisconsin, and i know we're seeing that nationally. now, cdc and osha have issued recommended safety guidance for businesses, but this guidance is not enforceable. many businesses are truly trying do the right thing in protecting workers and customers who interact with those businesses. we also had a previous discussion. i think senator sanders raised the issue of american airlines filling up their planes versus others who are still not trying to push to do so because of safety concerns. we also had i think it wassed a mirm g
-- was admiral giroir to please pull up the guidance. should we take that up by fully following the recommendations, yes or no? >> yes, we should be supporting those businesses. >> can you confirm, yes or no, all businesses have adopted and implemented this guidance as they've opened up? >> i think, senator, as you know, unfortunately that's not been the case. >> so it's an uneven playing field, and it hurts businesses that are trying to do the right thing by voluntarily adopting cdc and osha safety guidelines because their competitors don't have to incur the same safety and health costs. and if you believe we should be supporting the good actors, then shouldn't we create a level playing field by issuing an
emergency temporary standard to require all businesses to adopt and comply with enforceable safety standards? >> i'll make two comments, senator. the first one is so important. we've tried to say this is a time that everyone in our nation needs to accept the responsibility that dr. fauci and i spoke about to recognize they have the fundamental responsibility not just to protect themselves but to protect others by the social distancing, face mask, and handwashing. secondly, again, as we look at the local jurisdictions to see where that enforceability would be, whether it's in the local health department, the state health department, or the federal health department, i think, again, we see that the community can get behind that responsibili responsibility. those businesses that support
that responsibility may find their business is better than those that don't. >> let me interrupt you. i apologize, dr. redfield, but my time is limited. the panel right now is composed of people representing public health and public health institution. osha is our lead federal agency for protecting worker safety and health. have you had communication with the department of labor and osha about issuing mandatory enforceable standards rather than this voluntary guidance? >> secretary scalia is a member of the task force, and he's in the discussions with us that the vice president chairs. >> so the answer is yes? >> we've not had a discussion directly, but we have had discussions in review of the guidance that we've put to
businesses, both critical infrastructure and non-critical infrastructure businesses with osha. >> so i have limited time left. i do want to say the university of wisconsin say they will be reopening for classes in the fall. they've released a plan called smart restart. it calls for about 2,000 tests per week on campus. they'll need supplies do this including ppe, reagents, and swabs. we've heard about shortages of these supplies. it's why we offered the delivery act to unlock the full authority of the defense production act to release production of critical supplies and the things that are needed to conduct widespread testing. admiral giroir, can you ensure
us that universities and others will have access to the supplies and other testing in the fall? >> thank you so much, senator. i want to communicate this, and i'm happy to work with any university. we coordinate what we give to the state tloos u ts to the stao it's very important that the universities coordinate through the states. we provide them to a single contact point in the state who distributes them. we've been through a lot, but we have a lot of swabs now partially because of increased doumestic production. >> what about reagents? >> so reagents, we do not purchase centrally because the market is a little bit more mature. so we can trust with an
allocation strategy. we've mapped every single machine in every single city, county, and state. unfortunately there's not enough of one thing that if everybody wants it, they can get it. we do a matching thing understanding what the needs are for a particular state. for example, in alaska, they're very rural and have limitations. we make sure they get what they absolutely need versus other states who can be a little more flexible. >> i'm afraid -- >> i'm so sorry. >> -- we're well over time. we have a large number of senators who want to ask questions. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> i would renew my request that senators and witnesses try to keep the questions and answers within five minutes. senator cassidy. >> thank you, gentlemen, for all that you're doing. i have a couple of slides. can i ask the staff to show the first two slides?
so hear it shows that we're doing poorly relative to the countries doing it best, and you can argue that taiwan is much smaller than we, but taipei is a very congested city. so if you consider our cities as a collection of taipei's, for example, then it would suggest what we're currently doing is less robust and less whatever adjective you want to use than the countries that are doing it best. could i have the next slide, please? so this is developed by a group out of harvard. just so i can put a plug in it, they'll be speak at a roundtable thursday morning, and you can get details from my office if you wish. there's that interplay of doing the testing, compiling your data, knowing what your hot spots are, and tracing.
even everyone on this panel knows how it's done. this has been developed. you can take the slide down, please. so knowing that you're going to develop this strategy and kind of build upon what senator burr mentioned, what is the goal of the strategy? is the goal of the strategy to achieve suppression? that's number one. number two, what metrics will you use. knowing that the -- cdc is the one who gives guidance, it won't be up to the local and state who puts this together. it would be pretty detailed. if you have this kind of community, this is what you do. if you have that continue of
community, that's what you do. that's the kind of role the cdc is expected to play. dr. redfield, any thoughts on this. >> thank you. very important question. on the first slide, and i'll try to be quick, it is really important. it's illustrated back to the first point, to really practice social distancing. >> that's a given. dr. redfield, i'm going to ask you to go quickly. that's a given. there has to be a testing aspect of this. you awaken people to the responsibility if they know they've been exposed. if they don't know they've been exposed, they tend to be more complacen complacent. >> yes, senator. obviously testing and contact tracing without isolation has little value.
the challenge has been we learned in march this is significantly transmittable. so we have to look at another strategy. more of a community-led testing strategy where you go into a broader community and test a wide number of individuals as opposed to -- >> what metrics are you following? is there a specific strategy that's going to be given to state and locals on how to implement this? >> we're currently evaluating this community's test-lead strategy. the metrics are simple. it's thecf3 part ercentage of c >> sorry to interrupt. you're going to have some that are hot spots and some that are fairly safe. i guess i'm pulling to the gr
granul granularity. i'm frustrated. when i speak to my state and locals, they're not getting that granularity. i have not heard that we're doing what seoul and south korea are doing. >> we're sharing the exact kinetics. we have 130 counties out of this country out of the more than 5 those who have trouble.i÷ it's critical. >> dr. redfield, do we have that granul granularity? we know where the people are that were tested. we have a federa tkted system.
i'm over time, but if you would allow him to respond. >> my comment is that's where we're going with that granularity. we are now looking at the granular level. we don't disagree with the premise behind you. it's that granular response to control the many outbreaks, which is going to be fundamental to get this under control. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator cassidy. senator murphy. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. chaurman, if this were the policy of the united states of america. the recommendations and guidelines being given by our panelists today, we would not likely be in the situation we are like we were in march. the president of the united states has set policy.
so while our panelists tell us the important of wearing masks, the president of the united states is retweeting articles. he retweets people that are criticizing how folks look when they wear masks. our panelists today are telling us about the effectiveness. he deliberate ly prevents peopl from social distancing. they rinp signs from chairs. someone's out there every day saying masks are dehumanizing. someone said, a member of the house, viruss do what viruses do. the only way to get through it
is to be exposed. so we have these two parallel messaging operations, and i just think it's worth stipulating that everything we're hearing today is based on evidence. but the representatives today have social media followings of about 5 million people. the president of the united states has a following of around 82 million. you can understand why folks are confused out there. they hear the recommendations from dr. fauci and dr. redfield, but then they hear the prophet the united states criticizing a reporter for wearing a mask. that's why we're in the position we're in today where you see large numbers of people not complying with recommendations because they're hearing something very different from the chief executive, and they're watching something that is directly contrary to what we're
being told today, and it just probably requires saying that out loud at this a few question chairman, if i can, about global public health because we haven't covered that here today. dr. fauci, this virus got here really quickly. and what we learned is that, well, travel restrictions could help or give you time, they can't fully prevent a disease from arriving here. and so even if we do turn the corner in the united states and in a meaningful way, so long as this virus exists in large quantities outside of the united states, we are still vulnerable, is that right? >> that's correct, sir. >> and so dr. redfield, what is your understanding of why the united states has not joined the global vaccine effort, why are we not in something like sepi,
an organization working with other nations to coordinate the development of vaccine and the distribution of the vaccine? >> well, i think the u.s. is obviously developed a aggressive comprehensive program, but senator, it wouldn't preclude being part of the international organizations, also, from my perspective. >> we have legislation pending before the foreign relations committee that would put the united states into the global vaccine and it makes no sense as why the trump administration has not joined. and finally, admiral, just maybe help us understand what our relationship with the w.h.o. is today, right around the time that the president declared that we were pulling out of the w.h.o., not just that we were not going to fund it, but his announcement was we were receiver our relationship with w.h.o. and you were confirmed to a seat on the executive board so have you been recalled from the w.h.o.? are you attending meetings, are
you participating, what are the details surrounding our withdraw from the w.h.o., which, by the way, is maybe one of the most dangerous things in my opinion that the administration has done in the middle of a global pandemic, what is our status and your status as a confirmed member of the board. >> thank you, senator and i do appreciate the confirmation. i was confirmed on may 7th and i did attend the board on may 22nd. the executive board was virtual. it did participate and support our -- our multi-lateral commitments. i have not been recalled or given any direction to recall myself in any way. there would be another executive board meeting probably in october. and i believe all of us on our public health standards still work with the w.h.o. as a w.h.o. partner, for example, we participated with the w.h.o. under a global sickle cell meeting just a few days ago.
so we work from the public health aspects direction on the official, whether we're a member or i'm not going to go to the executive board. i have not gotten that direction yet. >> thank you. the announcement that we're terminating our relationship with the w.h.o. >> thank you, senator murphy. senator murkowski. >> thank you, mr. chairman and gentlemen, thank you for not only your testimony but all that you have been doing. i think i've had conversations with each one of you about the alaska specific issues, most notably with regards to our seafood processing. this is the time of year where we typically welcome a million plus tourists as well as many thousands that come up from the lower 48 and other places to help with our seafood processing. and it has been very anxious time, i think, for all of us in
alaska as we see outsiders coming in. we have seen obviously elevated cases of confirmed covid. our numbers, i think, are enviable when other states look at us to know that we're working about 500 active cases right now. about double that in terms of what we have seen throughout this whole pandemic. but, again, we know and you have stated that we don't have resources that we can look to to neighboring states. we're kind of on our own island there in terms of resources so what you have done to help facilitate, whether the plans with the seafood processors, the guidance, the ability to come in on an as-needed if the situation so demands, we appreciate that. we have seen the benefit of how these very rigorous plans have
worked. an individual who comes up to work in a seafood processing facility is tested before they come to the state. they're tested when they get to the state. they're put in a 14-day quarantine. we have seen positive cases once people have arrived. but we've been able to do what the plan calls for, which is that contact tracing and then isolation and keeping things to a minimum. so it does demonstrate the tough plansly can work. they are expensive, though. if you are bringing in several hundred or perhaps a thousand workers and you have to put them up in a hotel for 14 days, with pay, when you have to provide for the health protocols, this is costly. i would ask for your input and probably a question for the record in terms of which agencies can best help
facilitate these seafood processors with not only i pleamentation of the guidance but how we deal with the costs. we do receive some benefit from the discretionary funds provided to the states. but i think we would all recognize, like the meat packing facilities, our seafood processors are an important and critical industry, not only to ala alaska but to the country so we want to work to address that. i do want to speak very quickly to the public health infrastructure. i'm told that in alaska, as we're doing our contact tracing, it is still a paper copy excel spreadsheet faxed to the ep deemiology labs. this is how we're doing our tracing. i thought maybe that is just alaska but i've been told by dr.
zinc this is going on in california as well. that, to me, is not a contact tracing system that works and is sufficient. so i want to ask about not only your view of the sufficiency of contact tracing, and this is probably to you, dr. redfield, but then dr. fauci, i want to ask you about the concern that we have with certain parts of the country where you have public mistrust of vaccines in general. my fear is that we may get to the place where -- we will get to the place with we have that successful vaccine. but we still have the concern from many and a mistrust and whether it is vaccine hesitation or confidence, i don't know what the buzzword is, but i'm worried we don't have a plan to deal
with that. so first contact tracing and then the vaccine. >> thank you very much, senator. i think it is important to highlight what you said about the current state of data systems for public health in the united states. that they really are in need of aggressive modernization and, again, thank congress for the funding there. but it is a substantial investment that needs to take place. there are a number of counties still doing this pen and pencil as you commented. and we need to have a comprehensive integrated public health data system that is not only able to do something that is in realtime but actually predictive and it would be one of the great, i think, investments of our time to make that happen once and for all. >> i agree. >> and that is really fundamental to be able to operationalize contact tracing. and contact tracing doesn't really have any value, unless you could do it in realtime. it doesn't help like i just did
with the airlines where we had people flying infected from afghanistan and we didn't get the information until day 14, day 15, day 16. it is irrelevant. we love the partnership to get an integrated public health data system, not just for cdc but for all of our jurisdictions across the nation into one timely integrated system. >> senator, thank you for the question about -- >> if you could be succinct. we're well over time. >> we have a program embedded within the sites where the vaccine trials will be done because we're thoroughly aware of what your concerned about it and it is a reality, a lack of trust of authority, a lack of trust in government and a concern about vaccines in general. we need engage the community by boots on the ground and getting community particularly those populations that have not always been treated fairly by the government, minority populations, african-americans,
latinx and native americans and we have a program operable right now to do that. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you senator murkowski. senator warren. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. dr. fauci, you came before the health committee seven weeks ago to discuss the country's response to the covid-19. and at the time you told me that the u.s. did not, quote, buy any means have total control over this outbreak. but you also told me that we were, quote, going in the right direction. now, on the day you testified before the committee, that was may 12th, 2020, there were about 21,000 new cases of coronavirus. yesterday there were about 40,000 new cases of coronavirus. dr. fauci, do these numbers show that the country is still moving, quote, in the right
direction? and that the coronavirus pandemic is under control? >> well, i think the numbers speak for themselves. although we do have a number of parts of the country doing well, i'm very concerned about what is going on right now, particularly in the four states that are accounting for about 50% of the new infections. but the other vulnerable states, so i'd have to say the numbers speak for themselves. i'm very concerned that i'm not satisfied with what is going on because we're going in the wrong direction. if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we really have to do something about that and we need to do it quickly. short answer to your question is that clearly we are not in total control right now. >> thank you. thank you very much. and our case numbers are getting worse. and our death rates are going to get worse soon. during this same period of time, some other countries around the world have controlled the virus. they're reporting fewer cases each day and they are able to
provide targeted testing and to keep it up so they could tell what is happening and follow up if there is an outbreak. in other words controlling the coronavirus can be done. but because of bad federal leadership we have not been able to do this here in the united states. so, dr. fauci, the last time you were before this committee you told me that if the u.s. did not have, quote, an adequate response that the country would, quote, have the consequences of more infections and more deaths. now i know that we've made some progress. but have measures won't save lives. dr. fauci i'm asking you to be very direct with all of us on this. if we don't fully implement the testing contact tracing programs
and social distancing practices that everyone seems to agree that we need, can we expect these spikes in an infection to keep happening in different places around the country. >> thank you, senator, i'm always direct with you and i'll tell you in direct answer to your question that if you look at what is going on and just look at some of the film clips that you've seen of people congregating often without masks, of being in crowds, and jumping over and avoiding and not paying attention to the guidelines that we very carefully put out, we're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble. and there is going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop. >> okay, so if we don't get our act together more and more communities around the country will see these dangerous surges of covid-19. dr. fauci, back in march you also said, quote, looking at what we're seeing now, you
expected there could be between 100,200,0 100,000 and 200,000 infections. so let's flash forward to late june. here we are at the end of june. we've already seen 126,000 deaths with infection rates rising rapidly. dr. fauci, based on what you're seeing now, how many covid-19 deaths and infections should america expect before this is all over? >> i can't make an accurate prediction. but it is going to be very disturbing, i will guarantee you that. because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they're doing well, they are vulnerable. i made that point very clearly last week at a press conference. we can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. it puts the entire country at
risk. we're now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. i would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. so i'm very concerned. >> can you make any kind of estimate on what we're looking at overall on the number of deaths before this is over? you made an estimate back in march. between 100,000 and 200,000 but we have more information now and we're already at 126,000 deaths. >> right. i can't make a estimation because that would have to be modelled out because when models are done, and that is where those original numbers came from, senator. as i've said very often, models are as good as the assumptions that you put into the model. and those assumptions often change depending upon what your response is. so i would really be hesitant to give a number that will come back and either be contradicted and overblown or under-blown.
but i think it is important to tell you and the american public that i'm very concerned because it could get very bad. >> all right. i appreciate that, dr. fauci. we all want our economy -- >> we're long over time. >> i would like the same time that my republican colleagues got. because i want to say. >> all right, then your time is up. senator warren. >> we can't keep pretended. >> senator warren. i'm just as fair to you as i was to senator -- >> they got more time. >> senator warren, i always treat you fairly and i would appreciate you respecting the chairman's rules. if you would like to make a closing statement, you could go ahead and do so but i don't appreciate -- because i've been scrupulously. >> that you were allowing so much more time since -- >> well when you are chairman, you can make those decisions. >> thank you. i just want to make the point that we can't keep pretending
this virus is getting better when it isn't. that is how we end up with messages like the situation in texas. racing to reopen too soon and scrambling to close down before the hospitals get overwhelmed. if we don't get our act together, this is our future. seesawing back and forth between too few restrictions and then exploding cases and repeated shut downs. in this future, thousands more americans will die and our economy will be brought to its knees. we've got to have a national strategy that makes testing available to everyone school, and business and every hospital, every church. anywhere that americans come together. we need to expand contact tracing and we need leaders starting with president trump who have enough backbone to face reality, distribute our resources, set our standards and stick to them. because if we don't, the result is more economic wreckage and more death. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator warren. what i've tried to do in this
hearing is to ask senators to stay within five minutes and the answers within five minutes. and if the answers go beyond that, i've tried to be respectful of that. but i would ask senators not to ask their questions well past five minutes and then expect to make a speech at the end. senator scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i will certainly respect your time limits. i think we all should do that and frankly as we're asking, dr. fauci for an estimate of how many lives would le lost i thought the first were between 1 and 2.4 million lives. and perhaps one of thes why we should be thankful for where we are now and force ourselves to have a serious conversation about continuing to flatten the curve is because the all hands on deck approach is effective. we just need as much cooperation
from as much as many people as possible and every state around the country for us to see these numbers continue to make a dive in the right direction as opposed to spike in the wrong direction. and i think about the operations warp speed along with the crucial support from barda and other partnerships and accelerating ground-breaking technology that could eradicate covid-19 and revolutionize the vaccine development landscape. because of these efforts by industry, academia and government working in concert, we could see a viable candidate or candidates in a matter of months for a vaccine. and because of the growing number of large scale manufacturing agreements with companies like moderna, pfizer and j&j producing hundreds of millions of doses at risk, which means in advance, we're already working to address issues of access and this is critical, especially for our most
distressed communities. that said, effective development and widespread access, while essential are only part of the equation. if and when, and i feel optimistic it is when and not if, we get a viable vaccine, we need to encourage folks to choose to get vaccinated. i was really concerned when i saw a recent a.p. survey that showed only 49% of american adults plan to get vaccinated once the covid-19 vaccine came to market. a full 20% said that they did not plan to get vaccinated and one-third of americans were not sure. given the public's recent and vital focus on health disparities, it is worth noting that among certain groups these figures are even more alarming. just 25% of black americans, 37% of hispanic americans plan to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. my question to the full panel,
what steps can we take at every level of government and in the private sector with health care providers to ensure a pro-act education campaign and outreach strategy on the importance of getting vaccinated both for covid-19 and for, frankly, even more broadly. >> i'll take a shot at it first, senator. as i mentioned in response to another question, that we have a community engagement program that actually operates out of operation warp speed, the vaccine development program component of that. also there needs to be engagement of people who the community trusts. particularly individuals who are noted, sports figures or whom ever. when we were involved and continue to be involved in community engagement with hiv, we used people in the community, boots on the ground, to go out and looked and lived and are like the people they're trying
engage. it is very critical. because i share with you the concern that we get to the hoop and we get through it, of getting safe and effective vaccine only to find that a substantial proportion of the population do not want to get vaccinated. of particular concern is it is that proportion of the population that are generally the most vulnerable in the sense of minority communities, african-americans, latinx and native americans, who because of underlying conditions make it more likely if they do get infected it is a poor outcome. so it is extremely important engage them at the local level. thank you. >> thank you very much for your answer, dr. fauci. let me disclose any 40 seconds that i have left and respecting the time and i hope that we continue to do so. the pandemic has triggered a drop of 60% to 80% of
immunization rates among children. and even now that states are reopening, we're not seeing the rebound in the rates that are necessary. this creates a real risk of secondary infection and disease outbreaks that are not on the general public's radar as they reckon with the chief crisis at hand. so i think it is important that we follow your strategy, dr. fauci, as it relates engaging community leaders and perhaps people with notoriety to get involved in taking the vaccine. thank you, mr. chairman. i apologize for being four seconds over the time. >> thank you for respecting the time. we have eight senators remaining who have questions and we should have time for all of them to have a chance to ask their questions. senator kane. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the witnesses. dr. fauci, i saw an interview with you last week where you talked about a concern that there is two sizable percentage of our population that doesn't
like science and scientists and advice from scientists. and i hear real emotion in your voice as you express concern about people gathering in large groups and without masks and i gather that is the kind of anti-science concern that you were worrying about when you had that interview last week. >> yeah, that is part of it, senator. because a disregard of recommendations that come from authorities only because it is a recommendation. i think the attitude of pushing back from authority and pushing back on scientific data is very concerning. we're in the middle of a catastrophic outbreak and we really do need to be guided by scientific principles. >> and this could cause problems down the road if we get to a vaccine and people don't want to get the vaccine. so we all have to message this pretty strongly. dr. redfield, i want to thank you. i was going to ask you a question that i've been asking over and over again, why does
the cdc guidance for institutions of higher education not even mention the word "testing." but as as your testimony was done this morning the cdc website changed. and there are now guidelines for the institutes of higher education with fairly extensive recommendations and guidance, not mandates about testing. i didn't get a chance to read them but i saw them popping up on the cdc website and i want to thank you for that. and your testimony and the written testimony talks about the fact that the public health system relies on timely and accurate data systems. but that we've underinvested in them and the crisis highlights the need to modernize the public health systems. last year i introduced a bill called the saving lives do better data act with senator isaacs and king and colleagues were helpful in there. they were able to get $50 million in december in the
appropriations deal and another $500 million in the cares act. but i would urge my colleagues to do even more because our request from the public health communities is significantly more sizable. i hope we could get that into the next covid package. dr. fauci, this is a challenging question. challenging how to figure it out. the cdc last week said that a new group that we have to considerate risk is pregnant women and lactating women. the niads, remdesivir testing and vaccine testing often doesn't include pregnant women. i think for safety reasons. but we would want to make sure that pregnant and lactating women have access to treatment and access to vaccines. so how will we be trying to do research and testing so women could safely access these treatments or vaccines? >> that is a great question. and it applies also to children.
so what we're doing with the vaccine is you do a phase one trial, in normal healthy adults, not pregnant, not children. and you show initial safety. then when you move into the phase two and three studies, if you get even the slightest glimpse of efficacy and safety in that population, you go back and do a phase one in pregnant and lactating women as well as in children and if that is safe there, you bridge the data so that you could use the efficacy data that you already started to apply back to pregnant women. >> i see. >> that is how you do it. >> let me ask you this. at this point is the nation's goal with respect to coronavirus to mitigate it or suppress it? >> you know, vaccines right now, you're talking about vaccines sir? >> no, i'm talking about what is our goal. are we trying to mitigate or trying to suppress? >> it depends on where you are.
there is containment and mitigation. so if you have a level of virus that is low enough that you can adequately contain by the standard way of identification, isolation, contract tracing, particularly if you make sure you link the identification with isolation. because if you just do contact tracing without isolation, it is not going to work. when you get into a situation -- >> if i could, dr. fauci, because i don't want to go over time. i want to say one thing about testing really quick. admiral giroir when you were here last you said we would have the capacity to 40 million tests in september and that is about 1.3 million a day and we have done 310,000 and yesterday we did 560,000. are we going to get to 1.3 to 1.7 tests a day by september? >> so thank you for asking that. we will absolutely have the capacity to do that. it is depending on the need.
and, again, as you might expect, a few weeks ago the need for testing was much less than it is now. we had a good system that it was very good that we were able to identify a increase in positivity early but with the outbreaks we're having now we need to massively surge testing in those areas. we'll have that capability across the board, yeah, we'll have that and assuming no pooling. when we start pooling these together, three or four tests, then you do the math. i'm never happy until we have more tests so we don't have the say the word test again but we're in reasonably good shape given those tests. >> thank you. senator romney. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you to each of the panelists for the sacrifice and the effort that you've been making over these past several years, or past several months as well as years. as you know, because we didn't
know a great deal about this virus, never seen in america, we asked the american people to basically shut down their lives, cut back on flying, family reunions, funerals, church services, restaurants, bars, theaters, everything got shut down. and now it is end of june and hopefully we've learned something about how this disease actually spreads. and the american people need to go back out. they're going to go back out and they are going back out. we saw in the lake of the ozarks, all of the people and we said oh, my goodness this is a major problem but because people were outside, it wasn't a major problem. so my question is this, where is the risk greatest? how is it that it is spreading? is it spreading indoors, more at restaurants and bars, is it okay to be outdoors and perhaps not socially distance, are family reunions okay. you could give us guidance based
on what we know as to where the risks are greatest. i know you say social distance and masks. but people are getting in airplanes, they're going to restaurants. where is the risk greatest and where are we relatively safe? you could help us through that. family reunions? can we get together with family reunions doors. is it safer outdoors or indoors. give us some guidance. you could do that dr. fauci and dr. redfield. >> thank you, senator. i think first and foremost, the most important thing in that assessment is knowing at the granular level what the kinetics of transmission are in the community. as i mentioned we have 130 counties right now in the united states where we consider them, quote, hot spots. we have many other areas where there is limited transmission. so first and foremost it is knowing if you're in that area of active transmission. and then secondly, it is knowing what you do when you're in that area of active transmission.
and what precautions one takes. >> got to be brief, doctor. i have only five minutes. >> well i think those are the two things. i will say there is more and more data showing that the use of face coverings and masks are an effective way to prevent transmission in these gatherings and i think we're just going to come back and tell you the most important thing, if you're within a community, with limited transmission, and you're wearing face masks or there is significant transmission you're wearing face masks, and you practice the social distancing and hand washing, that is the best recommendations i could tell you. >> in addition, senator, outdoor bedder than indoor, bars really not good. really not good. congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news. we really got to stop that right now when you have areas that are surging like we see right now. but in answer to your question, a lit bit more granular, outdoor
is better than indoor. if your outdoor distance as bob said, wear a mask if you can. but you can have some social interaction. the one point i want to make very briefly is that we should not look at the public health endeavors as being an obstruction to opening up. we should look at it as a vehicle to opening up. so that you don't want to just restrict everything. because people are not going to tolerate that. so you could get outdoors and interact, wear a mask, try to avoid the close congregation of people, wash your hands often. but don't just make it all or none. we've got to be able to get people to get out and enjoy themselves within the safe guidelines that we have. so make public health work for you. as opposed to against you. >> i very much appreciate those responses. i think it is helpful for all of us as we go about our lives if
there is data that indicated where people are getting infected. were they in a bar or a restaurant or outdoors at a pool. i've heard reports that virtually nobody has been infected if they're outdoors. is that true or not true? given how long we've been at this, we have got to have more granular data so people know where there is greater risk. how many people have been infected as a result of flying on airplanes. we have to know that. if we could publish that american people they will know where they could be safe and go back to continue to be social distancing and we need that data. and who is responsible for distributing the vaccine? what person or what agency determines how the vaccine, when it is available, will be distributed? >> well, thank you, senator. this is a central function of cdc. where we really help with vaccine distribution throughout the nation.
child hook vaccines. >> so that is the cdc. that is on your shoulders. thank you. mr. chairman, back to you. >> thank you very much senator romney. senator hassen. >> well, thank you, mr. chair and thank to you all of the witnesses for being here and for the teams you lead. i know how hard everybody is working. dr. redfield, i want to start with a question to you. 43% of the deaths in this country have been in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. in my state of new hampshire, 80% of our deaths are attributed to residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. in mid may the white house urged states to complete covid-19 testing on every nursing homes resident and that has not happened. they have called for a baseline test for residents and weekly testing for nursing homes
workers. given the widespread outbreak and the unique risk to residents what is cdc doing to ensure that states carry out the recommendations for nursing home testing issued by cdc on june 13th and how many states have met these guidelines so far? >> thank you, senator. we are working in close contact with cms on that issue. as you say, we're not an enforcement agency. we make recommendations. >> but i'm asking -- and my time is short. i'm asking what you are doing to keep track of compliance with guidelines. 43% death rate nationwide is huge. and people are looking to y'all for granular guidance here. so what are you doing to find out what is in compliance and who is not? >> i was trying to emphasize that we're working in partnership with cms which has the regulatory over sight. we're there to continue to reinforce the guidance as you mentioned which we think is critical and we think we do have
to get everyone screened in the nursing homes and the employees every week. unfortunately we still think we need to keep visitors isolated from the homes, in areas with high jurisdictions but the regulatory function of this is cms but we are meeting with them daily to see what more we could do to try to ensure that there is greater compliance. >> i thank you for that. people are looking to the cdc for very clear and granular guidelines and you've heard that throughout the questioning but particularly in nursing homes and long-term care facility and they're still not getting useful personal protective equipment either. and let me go to another question and dr. fauci i'll start with you. we've heard discussion already today about the difference in the effectiveness of measures taken for instance in europe and the united states. this is a graph that shows the
disparity between new confirmed races per million residents over the previous seven days, to the united states, europe, canada and japan. the disparity is eye-popping. surveys suggest that mask wearing in the united states occurs less frequently than in europe and you've talked about mask wearing in public places. do you attribute the improvement in europe to more widespread use of masks or are there other specific government policies or individual behavioral differences that you believe should be incorporated into our national strategy? >> it certainly is masks that play a role but there are a number of other multi-faceted things in each of those very disturbing graphs that you show. one of the things that became clear, when we shut down as a nation, in reality only about 50% of the nation shut down with
regard to other things that were allowed. in many of the european countries, 90%, 95% of all activities were shut down. so that is one of the reasons why you saw, particularly in italy, which shut down to a much greater extent than we did, the cases came way down in a sharp curve downward and then stayed. so it is not only masks, it is the fact that the countries in europe and the other countries that you have there had a much more uniform response. we're a very heterogenius country and we have a heterogenius response depending whether you are in the northeast or west or what have you. there are probably some that we still don't even understand. >> and i'm going to move on to one other issue and it is really just to urge dr. redfield and the cdc to issue additional guidance for schools in particular on reopening. i understand that you are
continuing to do that. i appreciate that the cdc has released faq, frequently asked questions on things like youth sports which provide more concrete useful information for families and i'm hoping that you'll do the same kind of faq documents for parents and teachers that directly address practical questions and concerns about school reopening plans, like what happens, and what should a school do specifically if one or two positive cases come up in a classroom or in a teacher. what should parents and teachers expect school administrations to do. so we could follow up with that. i appreciate the chair's indulgence. >> thank you, senator hassen. senator brawn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've got two sets of questions and like for dr. fauci and redfield to give about a minute even to the first. i want to get the broad numbers. i think dr. redfield you might
have been on record you think there is ten times as many cases out there and i know that is a guess. i would like to know, if that is the case, all of a sudden the fatality rate goes from 5% to five tenths of a percent and from 2.5 point down to .25. dr. redfield, how many cases do you think we actually have out there. and then how many vaccinations and are herd immunity combinations as a percentage of the total population do we need to get to for this thing to be in the rearview mirror. so we have big numbers to relate the journey ahead. >> thank you very much, senator. quickly, we now know this virus began to spread in the united states in march and in between march and the end of may. we've been able to do antibody testing and that's allowed us to
understand how many people were really infected. so during that period, it was our best estimate, about 10 to 1. so we're probably talking over 20 million, 22 million americans infected. i don't want people to assume that is the same ratio now in june and july going forward. because -- >> you think it is more than that. >> no, it is less because we're doing more and more testing. but clearly it gives us a good idea of the extent of infection was more in march, april and may. not 2 million individuals but more closer to 20 million individuals. >> what is your opinion of how many individuals we need vaccinated and/or having herd immunity before this thing goes into the rearview mirror. >> tony could comment on that too. it has to be over 70% of the population before we see impact of herd immunity. >> dr. fauci. >> i totally agree. you need somewhere between 70
and 80%. i would say 70% at the lowest. >> okay. second set of questions would be on the issue of herd immunity. because we have the -- we don't know how long it will take to have an effective vaccine and i'm guessing when you talk about herd immunity, it has to confer immunity if you get it. let's assume you do get the immunity, what is the -- how do we go about the approaches that we've used to this point. is herd immunity going to be something that you think will march through if we take the strategy of having a different approach for younger people, that seem to have lower hospitalization rates and less significant consequences, because i think that is another thing we need to know because i think that is already going to be done by each individual in a way as they size up their own
personal risk. so how much can we count on herd immunity? >> i answer quickly and turn it to tony. even now we're looking at somewhere ben 5% and 8% of the american public is experienced this virus. so for me herd immunity as a basic strategy, you're talking about a multi-year strategy. this is why it is so important that the alternative strategy is a biological counter measure and in the development of a vaccine. >> one of the issues that might be complicating, i don't think it is something that is going to be any kind of a show-stopper, but we have to realize and as senator paul said, we have to be humble and know there is a lot we don't know. and what we don't know is with the durability. so in other words if you get herd immunity, 70%, to 80% and what we need to learn and only time could teach us this, is how long the immunity lasts. is it a year, two, threear four
or is it less and is it months? we don't know. when we find out that will inform us as to whether or not you get a vaccine how often you need to boost it. so we don't really know the answer to your question in any definitive way. >> at least that gives us some clarity, some parameters to live within. senator hassen stressed the point of protecting the most vulnerable because to me the one thing it looks like we could certainly do is to take that highest risk group, from the data we've already got, and build in essence an iron dome around them as the one thing that would seem to be the most important thing to do. where you get certain results. and i think that has to be in place as we -- the uncertainty of herd immunity and when we get an effective vaccine might emerge. >> we think about herd immunity
with regard to natural infection and/or a vaccine but when you talk about protecting the vulnerable, we want to see in the other programs that are more prophylactic treatment, like passive transfer of plasma or hyper immune globulin, that could protect the vulnerable until we do get an effective vaccine. >> thank you. >> thank you. senator smith. >> thank you, chair alexander and ranking member murray, it is go to see all of you today and thank you again to our panelists. so we need robust surveillance occupation ago testing if we're going to safely reopen our economy and our schools, our nursing homes and our group homes to make sure they're not a conduit for infection. and we're seeing this. a good example is in in new york state where employees of nursing homes are required to get a covid-19 test twice a week. so here is the problem if you're a worker. who pays for that test?
is it my employer, my private insurance if i have insurance or do i pay for it out of my pocket. so i'm thinking about that low wage worker, working in childcare or food processing or a security worker or janitor. and the average cost of the test is somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 to $150. there were reports of people charging over $6,000 to be tested, assuming you could find a test. this is my first question. last week federal agencies posted guidance on this question and the guidance said that health plans are not required to cover the full cost of tests for surveillance, for occupational reasons. and the federal testing plan, which talks about the value of surveillance testing and occupational testing, is silent on this. so let me ask you, dr. fauci, do you agree that we are going to be better able to contain the spread of covid-19 and save
lives if we have surveillance testing? >> no doubt surveillance testing is going to be a very important part of the program, to understand not only the current penetrate and where it is going. the short answer is it is very important in our public health measure. >> would not only the price of these tests or the ability to pay for the tests be a pretty significant barrier to having that surveillance happen. >> i think common sense tells you that. if people cannot pay for it, they're not going to do it. and that is one of the reasons why we have to figure out how we can do it without having the stress of people who can't afford it to be part of that process. >> and of course the worry is that this ability to pay for the surveillance tests or this kind of surveillance testing that could really tend to exacerbate underlying inequities since a
lot of frontline and essential workers who don't have the privilege of working from home are much more likely to be black and brown and indigenous people, people of color, isn't that right? >> as in all cases, that people who are economically not able to engage some some of the things that benefit others, they always in general get a short end of the stick on that and that is what we have to be concerned about. >> right. right. well, colleagues, i think this is a really important place where we have the potential to work together to make sure that as we expand surveillance testing and occupational testing and as we look at schools and higher institutions of higher education coming back that we have the ability to do this and the ability to pay for the test isn't a barrier so i appreciate chair alexander, you mentioned this at beginning, other colleagues have mentioned this and i think it is a place where we could work together in a constructive way. i'm going to ask a question specifically related to
vaccines. because it is been a lot of discussion about this. a lot of discussion about how we can make sure that people trust these vaccines. that they are safe. this they work. and that the long-term consequences potential negative side effects, we understand those. so let me just ask, maybe i'll ask you again, dr. fauci, how do we trust a vaccine that has only a short number of months potentially being tested in the human body? >> there are a couple of ways to over come that. first is that you have a large number of people in the trial. the trials that we're talking about now we're going to have 30,000 people in the trial. and maybe even more in some of them. you can get a considerable amount of safety data. but then there is a process after a vaccine, maybe would show efficacy to do further
studies following licensure availability. i'll let dr. hahn comment on that more because that becomes something very much involved with the fda's authority in making sure that we do have safe vaccines. so steve. >> let me just -- if i could maybe put a finer point on this question for you, dr. hahn, what if a manufacturer would say they could get a vaccine to market in january but only if they were released from reliability. what is the fda policy on that, how would you resolve that question? >> thank you, senator. so we would not get into the issue of liability for an individual sponsor. and what we would do, and that is why we released the guidance this morning, is we would ensure that our normal regulatory approach and our standards for safety and efficacy are met. >> so not -- you would not release a manufacturer from liability. >> that is not an fda authority
that we would use. >> okay. and how do you guard against -- senator smith, we're running a little late. go ahead with your question. but let's -- the witness -- >> hopefully this is an easy one. what i'm worried about is that there is an october surprise and there is a pressure put on the decision makers here to announce a vaccine in october of 2020. dr. hahn, could you tell us how we could have transparency so people could trust that that isn't happening. >> senator smith, a very good question and really important and leads to the issue of public confidence. it is why we released our guidance today. we want to be clear about what the standards and the data that we'll need to make a decision and what factors go into those decisions. and what the american people hear me when i say we'll use the science and data from the trials and ensure that our high levels of standards for safety and efficacy are met. >> thank you, senator smith. senator loeffler.
>> good morning, thank you all for being here. sorry, i can't be there in person. i wanted to ask, dr. redfield, can you outline what steps the cdc is taking to look at, as we prepare for handling both the flu and covid-19 season simultaneously this fall, i know the cdc recently developed a test that diagnosed both covid-19 and the flu but what other acts is the agency engaged in and are there any novel approaches in terms of implementing this. would love to hear about the agency's process for approaching the season this fall and your thoughts there. >> thank you very much, senator. i think it is really important to recognize that it is going to be difficult with flu and covid-19 this fall. first and foremost is to try to increase the american public's acceptance of flu vaccine. as you know, less than 50%
accept it. we're working hard to begin to reach out, particularly to groups that have been underrepresented to try to build that confidence in vaccination. we've worked with the manufacturers to see if they could boost the amount of vaccine that would be available. they've now increased their commitment to almost 189 million doses. cdc bought another 7.1 million doses. normally we buy about 500,000 to be available to the states and local health departments for uninsured adults. we increased that to 7.1 million doses. we've augmented our commitment to the children vaccine program and anticipating there is more children that will qualify in light of the unemployment. so those are some of the areas that we've begun to prepare for. >> thank you. and this question is for dr. hahn.
the pandemic has exposed our vulnerabilities in the medical supply chain and obviously we have a reliance on imports from countries like china that could quickly pose a national security risk in the face of an outbreak of infectious disease. we need to come up with a strategy to boost our production here. both pharmaceuticals and supplies. i've introduced some legislation titled the beat klichina act, t bring manufacturing back to the united states. but would like to hear from you what additional steps could policymakers take to boost our capability to produce these supplies and pharmaceuticals domestically. >> thank you senator, loeffler and your leadership on this. one issue we could agree on is the lack of redundancy in the supply chain and the dependency that we've seen during the covid-19 pandemic has been a problem. the agency's primary focus has been on instilling redundancy in
the supply chain, particularly pharmaceuticals by diversifying that supply chain. and really looking for opportunities to encourage domestic manufacturing. we, of course, on the regulatory side, provide guidance as well as regulations around the manufacturing specifications to ensure quality of pharmaceuticals and other medical products. we'll continue to do that particularly in the advanced manufacturing space in order to encourage domestic manufacturing. we look forward very much to working with you and other members of congress to see how we could create the proper incentives to have that redundancy and particularly to have as much domestic manufacturing as possible. >> thank you, dr. hahn. no further questions. i yield my time. >> thank you, senator loafler. senator jones. >> i appreciate your consistency
over the last few months. it has to be discouraging to see these numbers. i want to folks a little bit on schools. as we'll start opening schools up in alabama in august. and let me give you a little chronology here. the state of alabama began to open up its economy more in may and more toward the end of may and then for memorial day we saw the photographs and videos that dr. fauci referred to with everybody just having a big time for the memorial day holiday. now at the end of june, we are at our highest levels, the last 14 days have shown over 10,000 cases, which is 28% of the cases that we have seen have occurred just in the last 14 days. in the end of this week we have the july 4th holiday coming up. and we're going to see a delay in hospitalizations from right now if we do the same thing on july 4th, we'll have a huge problem at the end of july and
early august when we start opening schools up. our state school superintendent this week said that it would cost about $1.8 million for the average school system to do those things necessary to try to protect kids and the faculty. but i heard senator paul in his comments and discussing a number of things to where you would get the impression that we could just open schools back up without spending any of that money. so my question primarily to dr. fauci and dr. redfield, could you comment on some of the statistics and things you heard about children transmitting this disease and whether or not we need to spend some additional monies for our schools to do things like have extra ppe, to do things like potentially hiring additional health offers, temperature screenings, those kind of things. are those necessary based on what i've heard from senator paul and what happened on his charts in other countries.
dr. fauci and dr. redfield? >> i'll quickly give it a shot and hand it over to dr. redfield. we don't know precisely. i think the data that was very interesting that senator paul showed about school openings and not seeing any real obvious surge in cases is important. but we don't really know exactly what the efficiency of spread is. first of all, how many children get infected. that is the reason why in my opening statement i mentioned the study at the nih of 6,000 families looking at children, what is the rate of infection and how often do they infect their families. because if it is true that the rate is down, we know that they don't get seriously ill with hospitalizations when they get infected. but if the rate of infection is down, and they don't readily transmit to their parents and family members, that is going to be very important and the decision-making process of opening schools.
hopefully we're going to find that out reasonably soon by the study that we're doing. >> i'd echo what dr. fauci said. cdc has a number of household studies going on to try to get a better understanding social distancing et cetera, so there is information that we are gathering. i think we don't know the impact children have yet on the transmission cycle, so i think we should just acknowledge that. the greater threat, obviously, is again the children to the vul neshl, but i think one can have social behavior that can prevent that. so i think that would be, just to emphasize, i think it's really important. it's been said already that we move forward and work to
reopening schools in a safe way. i think as of note, the cdc never really recommended closing schools. it sort of just happened, as you know. we can do targeted school closings in a particular region like we've done for other viral diseases, but i think we need to move forward now and work to reopen these schools safely. >> thank you. admiral, just i want to make sure you're, we're tuned in and we talked about it a little bit. are we going to be able to make sure that we get vaccines distributed in the most vulnerable of communities? because that seems to be where so much is happening right now. in the rural south. are you making specific plan to make sure we get that into the rural areas? >> so, thank you very much. we all work on parts of this problem, right? so the cdc actually controls the distribution but what my office does, run ining the national
vaccine program, does things like the morehouse grant, cooperative agreement that we announced last week, that really reaches into the rural, hispanic, into african-american, to really have the community, the people who are in that community. not only link to services like testing, but to lay the ground work for vaccine acceptance. because we know that the burden of disease is fundamentally burdened on these individuals. these are the people, assuming the science works out, that we want to get vaccinated first. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator jones. we know the witness witnesses need to leave about 1:00 and we're going to try to respect that. senator rosen. >> hold on. can you hear me? >> yes, we can. morning. i will try to be as quick as i can talking about antibodies
this morning. thank you, chairman alexander, all of our witnesses for being here today. as our communities focus on how safely to get back to work and school, just like we're all t k talking about, we know we have to follow the science and a adapt to new information, be sure that we're making timely, targeted, and thoughtful decisions to protect both lives and livelihoods. so dr. fauci, the last time you were here, we talked about the antibody treatments and i would like to follow up u on that c conversation if we could. as we learn more about the virus, how it functions, how it's different from other respiratory illnesses, what can you tell us about the development of preventive treatments that block the virus from attaching to the cells that it's targeting? >> thank you for the question, senator. you mentioned monochloalal antibodies.
they're going into trials right now, in a number of trials sponsored by a number of groups ch hopefully in a reason abl amount of time, we'll get information that's effective both in the prevention as well as in the treatment. these antibodies are directed against a component of the virus that is what's called a spike protein and that protein is the one that binds to the now well established receptor in your body for the virus. and that's a receptacle ace two. there are studies that are not necessarily antibody studies, but studies that have an effect on the virus and its initial replication. an answer to a question that the chairman mentioned just a bit ago, is that there will be therapies that we will be giving some for treatment early on and others for prof lax is and as we hope, as we get into the fall and winter, we'll have everything from small molecule
treatments and prof lax is to the kind of antibodies that you're talking about. so there's a lot of activity going on to do that early in disease. both for prevention and for the treatment of early disease. >> i know you've been doing a lot of serology testing and that individuals are presenting with antibodies, so off the five types of antibodies that people are most likely to have, which ones do most recovered, which ones do they show and if one of these are present, does that make a difference and if the patient can be reinfected or not? are they effectively immune, at least for some period of time? what kind of answers does this give us if you have the presence of certain antibodies? >> i'd love to give you a really precise scientifically based answer, but the fact is, we don't know. when you get an acute infection,
you get an igm antibody. as you develop a more mature response, it becomes an igg. there are subclasses, some more protective than others. the thing we don't know, senator, that we will know in time, but it's going to take time to know it, is what the relationship between the neutralizing antibody and binding antibodies that don't neutralize, what is the relationship between the titer and degree of protection and what is the durability of protection? we've seen some puzzling things. we've seen people recover from covid infection and find out they don't have very high numbers of aept body. could it be a cell mediated response that got them through the illness? and some individuals have very high levels and we don't know how long those levels last. so we're get there with regard to our knowledge, but it's going to take several more months to a year to really be able to answer your question about the role of
antibodies in protection following natural infection. >> building upon that, i'd like to ask this question. we know this virus affects, is multi multiorgan. affect your heart, lung, stro strokes, digestive system, sense of smell. of the science you're talking about in the antibodies, is the science of stop iping the virus from causing harm the same regardless of which organ it attacks and how udoh we help direct funding for the kind of research that you're going to need to look at this multiorgan attack of this virus if you will? >> this is a very perplexing virus because it's a respiratory virus and gets in through the respiratory tract. if the virus stays in the respiratory tract and doesn't go systemic to involve other org
organs, that's good news because you don't get very sick. the other side of the coin is your antibody response is not as potent because when you get systemic involvement, invariably, you will have a more potent and robust immune response. so many people, and probably people who are the asimp tympto carriers, they have a reasonable titer of virus in their nasal fair but it doesn't go anywhere else. people who get triggered by the virus are the ones unfortunately get more sick but make a more immune response. >> thank you so much. i appreciate you all being here today. >> thank you. very interest iing questions. senator murray, do you have closing remark sns. >> i have one additional question then closing remarks. i wanted to admiral gerard one question. >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you. despite some of the limited
data, we do know that covid-19 is infecting and killing black, latino, and native american people at a much higher rate than white people. how is hhs going to reduce its response in communities of color? specifically, can you commit to directing some of the $14 billion in unspent funds congress provided to address those disparities? >> let me answer two parts of the question. first, really appreciate your suppo support, we've tried to focus our testing into high social vulnerability communities. 70% of our over 600 pharmacy sites are in high svi communities. that means racial and ethnic mightie mighties, language disparities, socioeconomic. we made a major push that the federally qualified health centers that take care of one out of three of those in poverty, over 1300 of those are
offering testing. of course, we're super excited to award to morehouse school of medicine last week that has a large ecoalition to reach minorities and underserved. that's what we're really doing. my office, this is what we do on a daily basis even without a pandemic. your second question is i don't commit the money. so, i certainly think we need continued investment in this area. continued significant investment in this area that the $40 million is a down payment on how we could best reach the underserved community, but you're going to have to talk to omb about how the money is spent. >> well, actually, hhs oversees that, so we will ask them, but it's an important question. i'll keep following up. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate all of our witnesses taking the time to join us today to update our committee on course of this pandemic and all of our efforts to respond to it. i hope we will continue to have
an opportunity to continue to hear from all of you as well as other key officials because the absolute worst thing we could do right now is to pretend this crisis is over when it is painfully obvious that is not true. the reality is that the losses in this pandemic so far are nearly unthinkable. and any further delays in our response is really unacceptable. we need to take this president to take this crisis seriously and lead and we need congress to act, so i hope we can all get back to work as soon as possible. we need to support our families, our front line workers, our businesses, schools, communities. we need to get testing where it needs to be. we need to make sure we are making progress towards a safe, effective, widely available vaccine and we need to strengthen our ties with the global community rather than cut them. so there's a lot left to do, mr. chairman. i look forward to working with you on this. >> thank you, senator murray. i know our witnesses have a meeting they need to go to, so
i'll abbreviate my remarks, but one thing i want to ask you, perhaps you could each do it in a a minute or less. i've put ott out a white paper in recognition of what some of you have said, which is that in between pandemics, we have found it difficult to do some of the things we need to do to prepare for the next pandemic. so there were one or two things that you thought we should try to do now in order to be prepared for the next pandemic, what would those one or two things be? dr. fauci? >> one of the things that i would like to see is an appreciation on the part of our entire nation of the importance of responding as a nation as a whole and not have a situation where we have a challenge such as we have right now. we have very desperate respon s
responses. we've got to do it in a coordinated way because we are all in this together. the other thing i'd like to do now is to cement in our minds as we bridge to the future, the fact that we cannot forget that what was thought to be unimaginable turned out to be the reality that we're facing right now. so it relates to the kind of appreciation that outbreaks happen and you have to deal with them in an very aggressive, proactive way. >> dr. redfield? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think the most important thing that i could say is that when it comes to public health threats, our nation needs to be overprepared, not underprepared. and as i mentioned before, decades of underinvestment in the core capable ilities of pub
health, day modernization, laboratory resilience, workforce, emergency response, i think is fundamental. we've really been hit with this simple virus. and i think at the end of the day, it's going to cost our nation trillions of dollars. and i think that we have a moment in time where i think people are attuned and i would say now is the time to make the necessary investment in our public health at the local territorial, tribal state and federal level, so that this nation finally has the public health system, not only that it needs, but that it deserves. >> of course i agree completely with my colleagues and we're all singing from the same hymnal here. data infrastructure is really important. when we came into this, we
didn't know how many ventilators were in use, how many tests were out there, were they positive or negative? the couple plecomplete soup to s for example, you need those decisions to make decisions and now we built this on the fly, but we absolutely have to invest in that. secondly, resiliency of the health care system. yes, we need the attack covid, but what happens to everything else? we've seen cancer screenings go down by 80%. childhood imizatiommunizations plumet. it's everything else we need to do and third thing i would say is we continue to have to focus on health despaisparities. if everyone was healthier, if we invested into hyper tension, obesity, diabetes, all the things that could bring the general health up, you would not see the horrible outcomes as we
have in any pandemic. so working on health disparities is critical to raise our general health and prepare us for whatever is going to hit us. >> dr. hahn, you can have the last word. >> thank you for your leadership and your white paper. i think that's really important to put this conversation forward. there are two things i want to emphasize. one is the data modernization, but from an fka perspective. it's a very manual process to number one, collect data on demand and also the supply chain. we need a very robust system to understand that. we also need a robust, real world evidence approach so when we make decisions in real time during an emergency, doctors do that all the time. agency docies do that, we have correct information to collect evidence and feed back into our decisions then revise as needed. the second thing that is linked and that is to my previous comments that senator leffler asked about.
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