Fauci testifies reopening too soon could be ‘really serious’

Fauci warned senators of "spikes that might turn into outbreaks."

By Allison Pecorin and Trish Turner

ABC News – The government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned senators in a videoconference hearing Tuesday that the “consequences could be really serious” if states and localities reopen too soon.

His testimony comes after President Donald Trump on Monday exaggerated the availability of coronavirus testing in the U.S. on Tuesday in his push to reopen the country, claiming Americans returning to work can get tested daily “very soon,” even though many governors disagree.

The Senate hearing this morning is the first time Fauci will testify since mid-March, and Democrats note he will be outside the presence of Trump.

He is testifying — along with some of the most prominent doctors on the president’s coronavirus task force — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and coronavirus testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir — in the historic hearing before the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to field questions surrounding reopening the economy, as more states lift restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus.

Three of the four witnesses — Fauci, Redfield and Hahn — are in some form of self-quarantine following “low risk” contact with at least one infected White House staff member. Even the committee chair, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is presiding from his home state after one of his staff members, too, tested positive for the contagious pathogen.

The teleconference testimony also comes as precautions are being put in place at the White House over fears the virus has invaded the West Wing, including a mandate that staffers must wear masks following positive coronavirus tests from one of the president’s valets and the vice president’s press secretary.

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

Categories: National News, News