CDC Director Robert Redfield testified June 4 on the agency’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Watch the hearing in the video player above.
While states have slowly begun to reopen across the country after two months of closures and stay-at-home orders, health officials have worried about potential exposure in protests across the country over the death of George Floyd.
Thousands of Americans — many without protective face masks — have jammed the nation’s streets over the past week in defiance of social distancing guidelines from governors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The White House coronavirus task force, which has dramatically scaled back its operations as states reopen their economies, is scrambling to track the potential impact on infection rates.
It could take weeks to judge the impact of the nationwide protests on the spread of COVID-19, which had been dramatically ebbing across most of the country before the killing of Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
Those infected with the virus sometimes take several days to display symptoms, creating a lag in the data. And many protesters were masked and skewed younger — a population that is less affected by the virus but may also have greater numbers of asymptomatic spreaders — complicating predictions.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the administration’s coronavirus coordinator, has been monitoring the protests since they began, looking for indicators of potential resurgence in cases, a White House official said. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters, said Birx was expected to present the task force with early impressions this week but the fuller picture likely won’t be known for some time.
The PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.