- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Thursday said the battle against the coronavirus pandemic is still in the early stages even as most U.S. states are moving to dial back virus-related restrictions.

“Unfortunately, the numbers are just inescapable,” Dr. Frieden said on “CBS This Morning.” “With so many infections of people in the past two to three weeks and the death rate that we’re seeing among those infected, it’s just a calculation that tragically, the number of deaths will continue [to increase] for the next few weeks.”

“The thing that concerns me even more is that bad as this is, we’re just at the beginning,” Dr. Frieden said. “The virus essentially has an open-field run.”

There are more than 1.2 million coronavirus cases and more than 73,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S., according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Frieden had delivered a similar message in testimony before a House appropriations subcommittee this week.

The panel had tried to get Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to appear, but the White House prevented him from doing so.

President Trump on Tuesday dismissed the Democratic-led House as a “set-up” and full of “Trump haters.” The White House had previously said it would be counterproductive to have people involved in the government’s response to COVID-19 testifying to Congress.

Dr. Fauci, along with Dr. Robert Redfield, the current director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus “testing czar,” and Dr. Stephen Hahn, head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are all slated to testify before the Senate health committee next week.

The House’s health spending subcommittee consists of members who are likely unrecognizable to most Americans.

The Senate health committee membership includes Sens. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, two former 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, as well as GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, one of the lone Republicans on Capitol Hill who has been willing to publicly buck Mr. Trump.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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