WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ President Donald Trump may have blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before the U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee on the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, but other health experts are still expressing concern to lawmakers about the country’s fight against the pandemic.
Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testified Wednesday saying the country will be battling the virus for months to come.
“There will be 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 at the end of this month,” Frieden said.
House lawmakers questioned both Frieden and Dr. Caitlin Rivers, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, about whether the country should begin reopening the economy.
“I think there is an enormous need to balance public health with the economic pressures,” Rivers said.
Both Rivers and Frieden told lawmakers that the United States still has a window to ramp-up testing and contact tracing.
“By having all of those things in place we can come out safer and sooner we start our economy without a risk of explosive spread,” Frieden said.
House lawmakers had asked to hear from Fauci about the nation’s ongoing response to the pandemic, but Trump refused to allow him to appear.
“The House is a setup,” Trump said. “The House is a bunch of Trump haters.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, was quick to criticize Trump’s decision.
“The White House said no – leaving no doubt it is just frightened by oversight,” DeLauro said.
But Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, argued that the subcommittee is not “hyper-partisan” and has a record of bipartisan accomplishments. He had also hoped Fauci would testify.
“I think it would have been good testimony, useful to this committee and useful to this country,” Cole said. “Frankly, I think going forward, this subcommittee, more than any other, is going to need administration input and expert input as we make the important decisions in front of us.”
Fauci is scheduled to testify before the Republican-controlled Senate committee later this week.