Washington DC: The top coronavirus experts in the Biden administration have testified on January 11 before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, were questioned by lawmakers about the federal response to new variants of Covid-19.
The hearing comes as health policymakers say they believe the administration needs an urgent reset in the way it is approaching the new realities of the pandemic.
Dr. Fauci was the target of a video released on Monday evening by Project Veritas claiming that he was involved in research projects related to coronaviruses by the Wuhan Institute of Virology that were deemed too risky by the Department of Defense, emails cited by the group claim.
In his testimony on Tuesday, Dr. Fauci angrily dismissed personal attacks on him by right-wing lawmakers, including those related to the emails.
Fauci said it’s “difficult to predict” when and how the spike in omicron cases will decline, and it will likely vary across the country depending on vaccination and infection rates. The health officials noted omicron was not the first Covid-19 variant, and also won’t be the last.
President Joe Biden has announced multiple measures in recent months to target the highly contagious variant, and increasing the availability of testing has been a primary focus, but those policies have been slow to roll out.