Health Care

Grassley urges people to listen to experts, not politicians, on coronavirus

Bonnie Cash

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday encouraged the public to listen to health experts, rather than politicians, about information related to the coronavirus.

Grassley’s remarks came as he told reporters there was some “conflicting information” about the spreading disease, the Des Moines Register reported.

“I’d encourage folks to forget about listening to political leaders on the subject,” he said. “Listen to our public health experts and our professional leaders, both at the state and [the] federal government.”

The senator said he was not referencing any specific individuals, but wanted to affirm that “political leaders aren’t experts on health care issues,” the Register reported.

“I don’t know what mistakes have been made if any have been made,” Grassley said. “But when you listen to people like Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, it gives a great deal of credibility to the information that the public wants and needs.”

Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told lawmakers during an appearance on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that the worst of the outbreak is yet to come.

“How much worse we get will depend on our ability to do two things: to contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country,” Fauci said in testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier Wednesday declared the coronavirus to be a pandemic, as there are now more than 124,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have died.

For the U.S., reports indicate at least 31 people have died from COVID-19, with more than 1,000 people battling the illness across the country.

The White House has struggled to maintain messaging surrounding the spreading disease, with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar last week contradicting Vice President Pence’s claims that the U.S. did not have enough coronavirus tests to meet the expected demand.

“There is no testing kit shortage, nor has there ever been,” Azar told ABC News.

President Trump, meanwhile, told reporters at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that day that “anybody who wants a [coronavirus] test gets a test.”

The president also indicated that he did not want infected passengers from a cruise ship to come on land for treatment, but deferred to Pence, who is overseeing the administration’s coronavirus task force. Pence later said infected passengers would be brought on land for treatment.

For his part, Grassley encouraged the public to heed public health officials’ guidance about coronavirus and called on lawmakers to continue their work.

“As leaders, I think we, in the Congress, have to continue to do the people’s business, all while following medical experts to take the precautions that are necessary, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Grassley said. 

Tags Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Mike Pence

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