Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed a tweet by Donald Trump claiming the U.S. global lead in coronavirus cases is because of increased testing.
Responding to questioning by a House Democrat.
Fauci says the scale of the U.S. outbreak is the result of multiple factors, including some states opened too quickly, disregarding federal guidelines.
Those recommendations called for a phased approach to easing restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms based on state case counts.
Trump tweeted as a House oversight committee heard from the nation’s top health officials on the federal response to coronavirus.
Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, chaired the committee hearing.
Fauci’s warnings about the scope and dangers of the outbreak have drawn the ire of some of President Trump’s supporters and prompted calls for his firing.
But he’s avoided open confrontations with the White House.
However, a top Democrat lawmaker is calling on the Trump administration to release a comprehensive plan to combat the coronavirus.
Blasting the national response effort as the U.S. death toll recently surpassed 150,000.
South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn warned another 150,000 Americans could lose their lives “if we do not make drastic changes now.”
Clyburn chairs the House subcommittee overseeing the COVID-19 response.
His Republican counterpart on the panel countered that thousands of lives could have been saved if governors had followed the Trump administration’s guidelines.
Republican Steve Scalise of Louisiana brandished a stack of federal documents on testing and reopening schools.
Nursing homes to demonstrate the detailed scope of the administration’s response.
The lawmakers are questioning top federal health officials, including National Institutes of Health infectious disease chief Dr. Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir.
New COVID-19 cases spiked this month across much of the South and West.
Pushing the nation’s daily case count back to the 60,000-70,000 range.
Those outbreaks appear to have peaked, but health officials are warning of new upticks in the Midwest.