If you aren't watching the House E&C hearing featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Redfield, the @GOP is attempting to prevent Fauci and Redfield from speaking.
House Republicans just claimed that *only the Chair and Ranking Member* are allowed to speak, because the @GOP is concerned about "respecting everyone's time."
You should be watching Fauci & Co. testify before the House. It's incredible how much actual information you get when @RealDonaldTrump isn't arguing with his doctors and spreading blatant lies. https://www.c-span.org/video/?473229-1/white-house-coronavirus-task-force-members-testify-federal-response-pandemic&live
As we get to the Q&A section of this House hearing, I hope Democrats don't spend the entire time mugging for the cameras and bashing Trump.

We know all about Trump's mishandling of #COVID19 - this is an important opportunity to get facts from our medical experts.
FAUCI tells Congress we're seeing a "concerning increase in community spread," and the #COVID19 curve is now rising after weeks of decline.

"Right now the next couple of weeks are going to be critical" for Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other states.
"To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on the testing," FAUCI tells Congress. Says his goal has always been to increase testing.

REDFIELD agrees, but says "we still have a ways to go" before testing is readily available.
"Has President Trump ever directed you to slow down #COVID19 testing?"


FAUCI: "No."

So in other words, Trump was just making shit up again.
CDC Director REDFIELD and his colleagues are expressing a lot of specific concern about the public health situation getting even worse this fall.

The nightmare, Redfield says, is " #COVID19 and influenza co-circulating in communities."
FAUCI makes a great point about how #COVID19 is hitting black and brown communities harder than their white neighbors.

Telework is really a luxury afforded to a privileged class of workers - folks who are more likely to be white.
. @RepBobbyRush has really been out front on publicizing the challenges communities of color face in dealing with #COVID19. It's great to hear Dr. Fauci agree that this is a unique problem we need to address.

"This will take billions of dollars," Admiral Giroir says.
We're seeing some terrible Zoom connections at this House E&C hearing on #COVID19

We need some kind of Week for Infrastructure to fix this broadband Internet problem.
"We need to be careful that we don't jump because of our need to get vaccines...that we do not definitely prove safety and efficacy."

FAUCI very clear that the political need to end this #COVID19 pandemic can't rush the science of a vaccine.
Dr. Fauci and FDA Commissioner Hahn unable to provide a timeline for when a #COVID19 vaccine may be available - not the answer @RepFredUpton was looking for.
Can some of the Capitol Hill interns please show their bosses how to use a microphone when they're on a Zoom call?
. @RepAnnaEshoo opens her questioning by asking FDA Commissioner Hahn why he hasn't been louder about the health risks of hydroychloroquine.

HAHN says he has not felt political pressure to make any particular decision on hydroxychloroquine.
FAUCI is taking the House Energy and Commerce Committee back to school on how antibodies work.

"We don't know the duration of that antibody," Fauci says. "It's likely they are protected [from #COVID19] for some period of time, but we don't know how long."
. @RepDianaDeGette asks FAUCI if he stands by his prediction that a #COVID19 vaccine will be available by early 2021.

FAUCI: "I'm cautiously optimistic. I still think there is a reasonably good chance...that if we're going to have a vaccine, we'll have it by then."
Instead of asking any questions to Dr. Fauci or the #COVID19 experts before her committee, @cathymcmorris just spent most of her time praising Donald Trump's "innovation in artificial intelligence" and Trump's commitment to "making our economy boom again."
. @USRepMikeDoyle: "I'm sorry Mr. Chairman, I forgot that I was on mute."
REP. DOYLE asks if we have enough PPE for every frontline worker in need, and if @RealDonaldTrump will invoke the DPA to solve any shortfall.

Admiral Giroir evades the question by talking about how much PPE the feds have distributed to states.
. @RepGuthrie: "The people I talk to want to know what it's gonna look like in August, will kids get back to school, will nursing homes be safe?"

REDFIELD says CDC will be issuing guidance in the days ahead, but more Americans must follow face mask and social distancing rules.
FAUCI: "When you're asking about schools, you have to say where you're talking about. Some counties have such a low level of infection that schools can open...exactly like normal. We have to be very careful what we put out about reopening schools."
There is one common thread in today's House #COVID19 hearing: Fauci, Redfield, Hahn and Giroir are all warning about the huge health and economic risks of reopening too fast.

This is a direct response to White House efforts to let politics guide our medical decisions.
Texas Republican @RepPeteOlson certainly seems shaken by what he describes as a "huge" increase in #COVID19 infections in his community.

Olson slams policymakers who "aren't taking this seriously" and jeopardizing American lives.
Good Lord @GKButterfield looks younger today than he did when I worked on the Hill in 2009. How does he do it?
BUTTERFIELD: "Arizona got its infection rate down to 7%, and now it's up to 20%! What is the administration specifically doing to slow the spread?"

FAUCI: "When you have those kinds of increases, you MUST implement isolation and contract tracing to try and blunt those cases."
Dr. Fauci tells Congress that Arizona's recent explosion in #COVID19 infections means AZ ought to immediately implement social distancing, masks, and contact tracing.

Donald Trump is holding an indoor rally in Arizona this evening.
Today's House Energy & Commerce hearing on #COVID19 seems to be getting through to a few visibly shaken Texas Republicans.

Reps. Olson and Burgess have told harrowing stories about community spread hitting their towns.
A lot of these @GOP legislators really seemed to think #COVID19 was over when the White House stopped holding its press events.

This new wave smashing TX, AZ, NC, and other states appears to have caught them totally off guard.
REP MATSUI asks Fauci to estimate the infection and death count of a second #COVID19 wave.

FAUCI: "Before we talk about what a second wave is, we'd like to get the current situation under control." Says the goal is to lower infections as much as possible to ease containment.
. @DorisMatsui: "What can we do as a country *now* to reduce a potential second #COVID19 wave.

FAUCI: "We know what the problems were from phase one - a lack of PPE, a lack of N95s, a lack of ventilators. We're now stockpiling those. Hopefully we would be much better prepared."
Republican Rep. David McKinley now arguing that we're overreacting to #COVID19 because we "still don't have a cure" for drug addiction or AIDS.

Asks these medical experts whether they think the press has been fair to President Trump.
Dr. Fauci is absolutely irate at an accusation by @RepMcKinley that Fauci told Americans not to wear masks.

"Oh, we're going to play that game?" Fauci says. "Well let me remind you what the situation was at the time."
McKinley basically accused Fauci of killing people with bad advice.

FAUCI tells @RepMcKinley that when #COVID19 began, there were barely enough masks and PPE for medical professionals. That was why Fauci told regular Americans to save medical-grade PPE for doctors and nurses.
. @RepMcKinley is on a roll of asinine questions, now trying to push CDC Director Redfield into admitting it's safe to let schools reopen because "infection rates are what, one percent?"

Redfield pushes back, says the situation requires "more vigilance" than we're seeing now.
I have never seen Anthony Fauci get angry before, and boy, I would not want to tangle with him.
It's clear one of the lines @GOP politicians will be testing in the coming weeks is this idea that @RealDonaldTrump would have solved #COVID19 except for the bad advice he got from eggheads like Fauci.

Push back against this bullshit with all of your energy.
I wonder how the Republican Congressmen who just described the explosion of #COVID19 infections in their communities will take the news that @RealDonaldTrump just abandoned them.
In response to a question on school reopenings from @MorganGriffith, Dr. Fauci repeats that nothing about it will be a national process.

"We need to be making decisions at the county level, at the district level," in response to local #COVID19 infection rates.
And we're recessed for 15 minutes because Dr. Fauci desperately had to use the bathroom.
We're back with the House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on #COVID19 with Dr. Fauci, CDC Director Redfield and a host of others.

FAUCI and REDFIELD kick off the Q&A by acknowledging that neither of them were consulted on Trump's decision to withdraw from the WHO.
Nothing like a five minute long monologue rendered unintelligible by a Congressman's spotty Internet connection.
CDC's Redfield just said that our health system is especially vulnerable to mass outbreaks like #COVID19 because individuals and families are struggling to access the healthcare resources they need.

Maybe we need some kind of healthcare...for...all...program?
Credit to @repbenraylujan for getting CDC Director Redfield and Admiral Giroir on the record about Donald Trump's repeated lies regarding #COVID19 testing capacity.

"Anyone who wants a test can get one" was always a knowing lie.
What FDA Commissioner Hahn and CDC Director Redfield are talking around is the reason *why* our medical agencies struggled with America's #COVID19 response.

Spoiler: it's because @realDonaldTrump gutted federal funding for pandemic response.
Two hours in, @RepPaulTonko asks the big question I've been dying to hear: "If everyone should be wearing a mask, why does the President not wear one?"

FAUCI tiptoes around that one, saying "it's always better to wear a mask than to not wear a mask."
TONKO: "Does the president's refusal to wear a face covering send the wrong message about the advice coming from public health experts?"

FAUCI: "I don't think I can comment on the multiple factors that go into the president's not wearing a mask."
FAUCI tells House Energy & Commerce #COVID19 hearing that he has never directly advised President Trump wear a mask, but he generally has stressed the importance of wearing a mask.

Surprised it took until @RepPaulTonko to dig into this.
If you want a perfect lesson in the intimidating power of the presidency, just look at these public health experts and nationally-recognized medical professionals who are terrified to tell @RealDonaldTrump he should wear a damn mask.
Republican Texas Rep Bill Flores is rambling without a question in sight.

The thrust of his soliloquy is that blue states have more #COVID19 infections than red states, so Texas and Florida should be exempt from social distancing and business closures.
Everyone on the panel seems confused by what the hell Flores is going on about.

FAUCI: "You used a lot of data from a lot of scenarios where there really was a moving target. I'm having trouble following you."
LOEBSACK asks Admiral Giroir if we're meeting the PPE and safety gear needs of our first responders.

GIROIR: I do believe we are meeting those needs right now.
LOEBSACK asks if America will face a second #COVID19 wave in the fall.

REDFIELD: "We are going to experience significant Coronavirus infection in the fall and winter."

FAUCI: "There will be significant infections, yes."

HAHN: "I agree with Drs. Fauci and Redfield."
Keep in mind, Redfield, Fauci and Hahn are saying they are near-certain #COVID19 will surge back in the fall, even *with* advances in rapid testing and contact tracing.

This is not a worst case scenario. Redfield and Fauci said they were being optimistic.
If even half of what CDC Director Redfield and Dr. Fauci just projected comes to pass, we're going to wish for the days when only 120,000 Americans were dead from #COVID19.
REDFIELD: #COVID19 "brought this nation to its knees." He slams cuts to the CDC that left the agency vulnerable to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Those cuts were written and passed by @RealDonaldTrump and the @GOP to pay for a billionaire's tax cut.
This #COVID19 hearing reveals a potentially damaging new fault line in the Coronavirus debate: schools.

Democrats and Republicans have been sharply critical of the decision to keep schools closed. Expect the debate to get even more heated as we near August.
I was hoping to follow today's hearing and come away with a sense of confidence in where America is after a brutal first half of 2020.

Instead, our medical professionals are warning us to prepare for a rough fall and winter, while Congress wants to reopen the schools.
CDC Director Redfield was very clear with the committee: "we don't know enough" about how #COVID19 hits kids. The potential for a mass spreading event is very real.

We're letting political concerns guide our public health policy and it is literally killing us.
Aaaand we're now in a brief pause as @RepJoeKennedy figures out how to unmute his computer.
Donald Trump is out with a tweet contradicting Fauci's ongoing testimony.

Fauci addressed this fallacy: deaths are only temporarily down because young people are now infected. They pass it to at-risk Americans, and the mortality gap closes. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1275510212384788480
More schools questions from Michigan @RepWalberg on how to phase reopenings for the coming school year.

FAUCI: "Masks should be worn at all times. You've gotta allow faculty and students with underlying conditions to teach or learn from home."
In response to Walberg, FAUCI treats it as a certainty that a certain number of students and teachers will become infected with #COVID19.

What is important is "having the means to remove those cases from the population" without creating an outbreak event.
. @RepJoeKennedy is back with working audio, and he's making a great point about how public housing facilities are suffering the double whammy of high #COVID19 infection rates and far below-average levels of testing.

This is sounding more like a speech than a question, though.
. @RepJoeKennedy asks CDC Director Redfield if it's acceptable that funding meant for increased testing won't be released to communities in need until August at the earliest.

Redfield dodges, won't say whether it poses a health risk to delay that funding for over a month.
As an aside, you watch members of Congress ask questions in committee and it gives you even more appreciation for how good @AOC and @katieporteroc are at getting information out of witnesses.

Both avoid the trap of speechifying. It's pointed questions from the get-go.
We have another hour of questions left at the House Energy & Commerce Commitee hearing on #COVID19 and I am starting to lose bone density.
We'll resume in two minutes, I need to celebrate the monthly privilege of sending a $625.95 check to my insurance company for the pleasure of bare bones healthcare.
. @RepDebDingell asks a process-based question about how drug manufacturers gauge success and trisk in Phase 3 human clinical trials.

FAUCI: "We have a different kind of approach to Phase 3...we'll have subsets that are looked at much more closely for safety."
HAHN: "The science and the data will guide our decisions" when it comes to approving any #COVID19 vaccine for broad public use.

Fauci and Hahn are going out of their way to reassure the Hill that @RealDonaldTrump isn't the one deciding on when the vaccine is approved.
Texas Dem @RepVeasey asks about concerns government actors may misreport or manipulate #COVID19 infection numbers.

REDFIELD admits that the official Coronavirus death count could be much higher than reported due to local officials missing or misreporting the cause of death.
REDFIELD is quick to clarify that he does not think these are intentional efforts to manipulate numbers.

Much more likely those discrepancies are due to the difficulty of diagnosing cause of death in asymptomatic or lightly symptomatic people.
. @RepRobinKelly is up now, and she's picking up the discussion about how #COVID19 disproportionately hurts black and brown communities across the country.

"Black people are hospitalized at 4.5x the rate of whites, Latinos are admitted 4x more often than white people."
. @RepRobinKelly: "More than half of the #COVID19 data have have is missing racial or ethnic information."

REDFIELD: "We're making progress to ensure all racial fields are filled out on forms - it is critical that we have that information, as you point out."
Kelly asks what efforts the Trump administration is taking to gather missing #COVID19 data from minority neighborhoods.

GIROIR: "I don't think it's possible to reconstruct the data for tests done in March, April, and May...the authorization had no enforcement mechanism."
Let's break down what that means:

1. The Trump administration didn't maintain proper records of #COVID19 patients for *three months*

2. Black and brown communities were disproportionately subject to shoddy record keeping.

3. Those records are now likely *permanently* lost.
. @RepBarragan asks CDC Director Redfield when he last spoke to @RealDonaldTrump about the government's response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

REDFIELD refuses to disclose any information about when he last spoke to Trump.
. @RepBarragan: "Dr. Fauci, when did you last speak to the president?"

FAUCI: "About two and a half weeks ago."
. @RepBarragan asks Fauci whether the United States will be forced to lock down again if a second #COVID19 wave spirals out of control.

FAUCI: There are...some states, some cities, that have not done so well: Florida, Arizona, Texas are now having a serious problem.
Dr. Fauci's message at this House #COVID19 hearing is crystal clear: this won't be over by winter, and it could actually get much worse.

Fauci is concerned states that have reopened will now suffer huge infection increases even if they shut down again.
. @LisaBRochester: "The administration has said it will take money from the Provider Relief Fund to pay for the uninsured. When can we expect a plan for how the administration will provide vaccines to Americans?"

GIROIR says that's an "ongoing" conversation.
Rochester asks if there were conversations about expanding Medicaid or opening ACA enrollment to ensure Americans can get #COVID19 care.

GIROIR: "All options were looked at - it was clear that no one should be waiting at home in need of care due to a lack of coverage."
What Admiral Giroir expects us to believe is that @RealDonaldTrump led a high-minded policy debate about how to expand insurance coverage to every American and decided that...doing absolutely nothing was the best option they came up with.
. @RepDarrenSoto is talking about the importance of funding rapid testing, but I'm distracted because he's trapped in a featureless white void with a lot of overhead lighting.
. @RepDarrenSoto: "There's a shortage of Remdesivir in my district. Can the administration help me out or is this a problem across the country?"

HAHN: "We have supply. I'd be happy to get in touch with you and your folks to ensure an adequate supply in central Florida."
And last but not least we have Arizona's @RepOHalleran, who asks the panel how we can ensure there's enough testing equipment to address a #COVID19 surge in the fall.

Rep. O'Halleran works with a lot of Native Americans in the region. He notes how hard they've been hit.
I think @RepOHalleran has the quote of the day: "I think every one of your organizations has done an outstanding job. I just can't seem to find out what you're doing on a regular basis."
FAUCI calls our testing and quarantine situation a "mixed bag." Says some areas are "well controlled" while others cause him a lot of concern.

"Our goal is to get this to such a low level that when new cases come up, we can contain them instead of chasing a forest fire."
FAUCI: "I believe we will have the testing that we did not have early on, we will have it by October."

Fauci declines to say whether we doctors and nurses will have enough PPE and masks in October to meet a new #COVID19 surge.
Admiral GIROIR picked up from Fauci, says he feels confident we're on track to secure the ventilators and masks needed.

"We'll have 50,000 ventilators by July. In February, we had about 19,000." Says he's "guardedly cautious" about our capacity. Yikes.
And on that "guardedly cautious that we'll avoid a second pandemic" note, the House Energy & Commerce Committee #COVID19 hearing is DONE!

If you enjoyed this six hour public health odyssey, consider buying me a drink: http://paypal.me/themaxburns 
You can follow @themaxburns.
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