Infectious disease expert says mortality rates likely higher than reported, despite evidence to the contrary…
(Liberty Headlines) Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, warned on Tuesday that “the consequences could be really serious” if cities and states reopen the U.S. economy too quickly with the Wuhan virus still spreading.
More COVID-19 infections are inevitable as people again start gathering, but how prepared communities are to stamp out those sparks will determine how bad the rebound is, Fauci told the Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“There is no doubt, even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation you will see some cases appear,” Fauci said.
And if there is a rush to reopen without following guidelines, “my concern is we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” he said. “The consequences could be really serious.”
In fact, he said opening too soon “could turn the clock back,” and that not only would cause “some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery.”
Fauci was among the health experts testifying Tuesday to the Senate panel. His testimony comes as President Donald Trump is praising states that are reopening after the prolonged lockdown aimed at controlling the virus’s spread.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, chairman of the committee, said as the hearing opened that “what our country has done so far in testing is impressive, but not nearly enough.”
Worldwide, the virus has infected nearly 4.2 million people and killed over 287,000 — more than 80,000 in U.S. alone.
Asked if the U.S. mortality count was correct, Fauci said, “the number is likely higher. I don’t know exactly what percent higher but almost certainly it’s higher.”
Fauci made his remarks despite several examples of cases in which deaths are being attributed to COVID-19 even though the deceased had other life-threatening conditions and were not tested for the virus. He also failed to acknowledge the belief by the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, that she trusts none of the data on infections or mortality being provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force charged with shaping the response to COVID-19, testified via video conference after self-quarantining as a White House staffer tested positive for the virus.
With the U.S. economy in free-fall and more than 30 million people unemployed, Trump has been pressuring states to reopen.
Besides Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health, the other experts include FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — both in self-quarantine—and Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus “testing czar” at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The event Tuesday got underway in the committee’s storied hearing room, but that’s about all that remained of the pre-pandemic way of conducting oversight. The senators running the event, Alexander and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, were heads on video screens, with an array of personal items in the background as they isolated back home.
A few senators, such as Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy, personally attended the session in the hearing room. They wore masks, as did an array of aides buzzing behind them.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.