WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — The nation’s top health officials Tuesday warned Congress that uncontrollable outbreaks of the coronavirus may happen if states and cities re-open too quickly.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told senators he worries about states re-opening too quickly.
“My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” he said.
And those outbreaks, he warns, could make months of progress disappear.
”There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” Fauci said.
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin also criticized lagging supply chains.
“Whether its PPE, testing, or medical equipment, is still extremely fragmented, leading to price gouging and many other inefficiencies,” Baldwin (D-WI) said.
Admiral Brett Giroir, the Trump administration’s testing czar, assured lawmakers that efforts to improve testing and supplies continue.
“By September, we project that our nation will be capable of performing at least 40 to 50 million tests per month,” said Giroir, the assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Indiana Senator Mike Braun questioned if bureaucratic red tape slowed the FDA’s testing response, while countries like South Korea were testing widely before the U.S.
“Will we shed some of that stodginess?” Braun (R-IN) asked. “Will we look to get therapeutics and vaccines through the system in a quicker method?”
“I completely agree with you that this is an opportunity for us to take a look and determine how we can do things better,” answered U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn.
Fauci also told lawmakers at least eight different vaccines are in development, but warned they’re still at least a year away.
“Even at the top speed we’re going, we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term,” he said.