Fauci: Spike in new COVID-19 cases as states reopen is ‘disturbing’

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Several of the nation’s top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before a House Committee Tuesday regarding the Trump Administration’s response to the coronavirus.

During his testimony, Fauci told House lawmakers that the increase in COVID-19 cases as states reopen is disturbing.

“The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we’re seeing in Florida, in Texas, Arizona,” Fauci said. “A couple of days ago there were 30,000 new infections.”

Fauci said he’s concerned about community spread and that testing is critical to identify, trace and isolate cases.

“We’re going to be doing more testing, not less,” Fauci said.

Despite a commitment from the nation’s top health experts to continue testing, President Donald Trump maintains his desire to slow testing.

“By having more tests we find more cases,” Trump said.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, said the Trump Administration’s COVID-19 response is off track.

“Feb. 27, President Trump said COVID-19 would disappear like a miracle,” Welch said.

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-New York, questioned why Trump isn’t following the advice of public health officials, such as wearing a mask.

“The president seems to believe he is above this evidence-based recommendation,” Tonko said.

But Rep. David McKinley, R-West Virginia, questioned why Americans weren’t asked to wear masks earlier.

“Do you now regret not advising people more forcefully to wear masks more earlier?” McKinley questioned.

Fauci responded: “I don’t regret that… at that time, there was a paucity of health care equipment. Now that we have enough, we recommend it.”

Fauci said now it’s clear that mask-wearing helps slow the spread of the virus.

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