Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is scheduled to testify on Tuesday before the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.Dr. Anthony S. Fauci last month at the White House before a coronavirus task force briefing.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York TimesMay 12, 2020, 1:32 a.m. ETWASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a central figure in the government’s response to the coronavirus, plans to deliver a stark warning to the Senate on Tuesday: Americans would experience “needless suffering and death” if the country opens up prematurely.Dr. Fauci, who has emerged as the perhaps nation’s most respected voice during the worst public health crisis in a century, is one of four top government doctors scheduled to testify remotely at a high-profile — and highly unusual — hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He made his comments in an email to a New York Times reporter late Monday night.“The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” he wrote. “If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”It is a message starkly at odds with the things-are-looking-up argument that President Trump has been trying to put out: that states are ready to reopen and the pandemic is under control.In the Rose Garden earlier on Monday, Mr. Trump declared that “we have met the moment and we have prevailed,” though he later walked back the comments and said he only meant to say the country had prevailed on increasing access to coronavirus testing — an assertion public health experts say is not true.Dr. Fauci, who has served under Republican and Democratic presidents for more than three decades and has worked to master the art of contradicting Mr. Trump without correcting him, echoed the language of
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