WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Senate lawmakers held a hearing Tuesday to find out when it’s safe to get back to “normal” following the coronavirus crisis.
“What are the biggest unknowns?” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) asked.
With so many questions still surrounding the coronavirus, senators were able to ask some of the nation’s top health officials for answers.
“I am cautiously optimistic,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said.
Burr asked Dr. Fauci about the progress of developing a vaccine. Fauci said he’s hopeful but that answers won’t be available until this winter.
“There’s no guarantee that the vaccine is actually going to be effective,” he said.
The hearing comes as several states are in the process of reopening their economies.
“What else would you suggest that we do to protect our most vulnerable populations?” Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) asked Dr. Fauci.
Fauci praised Scott for the steps his state is taking.
“I’d almost want to clone that and make sure other people hear about that and see what you’ve been doing,” Fauci added.
The witnesses, and some senators, joined the hearing from home. But their questions remained focused on how to get the country back to normal.
“How is this plan being developed within the CDC?” Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) asked.
Jones wanted to know what guidelines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has in place for reopening and for a potential resurgence of the virus in the fall.
“People underestimate how important it is that we have a fundamental contact tracing program,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Tuesday.
Redfield said relief funding from Congress is helping get the resources in place to get the country back online.