Federal Health Officials are on Capitol Hill to answer questions on the response to the coronavirus pandemic and what is the plan going forward.
Officials from NIH, Centers from Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Drug Administration appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee on Thursday.
This comes as the Biden Administration pushes to get vaccines in more arms, widen testing capabilities, and get children back into school.
And experts warn that the number of new cases nationwide has stopped declining.
“There still are challenges ahead, particularly with regard to the variants that have now become very familiar to us,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“They are mutational changes in the virus strains that challenge us both from the standpoint of spreading more rapidly, having a greater degree of pathogenesis, and even evading some of our monoclonal antibodies.”
The U.S. has reported more than 538,000 deaths from the coronavirus.
“We are expanding the reach of lifesaving vaccines and improving vaccine confidence to end this pandemic, we must also maintain proven effective prevention measures, masks and hygiene and physical distance,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
“We must work towards sustainable investments in public health infrastructure to be better prepared for whatever comes next.”