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Senator Alexander: Testing Levels Inadequate to Open Campuses

May 12, 2020
 
 

Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate's education committee, on Sunday praised coronavirus testing in the U.S., citing Johns Hopkins University research that eight million tests have conducted, more per capita even than South Korea.

But Alexander said current testing capacity remains inadequate for reopening large college and university campuses for in-person instruction.

"It’s enough to do what we need to do today to reopen, for example, but it’s not enough when 35,000 kids and faculty show up at the University of Tennessee campus in August," Alexander said on NBC's Meet the Press.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions plans to hold a hearing today with Trump administration health experts on safely reopening schools and workplaces. Two of the four scheduled witnesses are self-quarantining amid worries about White House officials who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Those witnesses will testify via videoconference, the committee said.

"The hearing is an opportunity for senators to hear an update from officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about what federal, state and local governments are doing to help Americans go back to work and back to school as rapidly and safely as possible," according to a statement from the committee.

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