WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: Dr. Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control, has said that a potential second wave of coronavirus later this year could flare up again and coincide with flu season. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: Dr. Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control, has said that a potential second wave of coronavirus later this year could flare up again and coincide with flu season. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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One shot doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are prepared at a clinic targeting immigrant community members on March 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  The clinic, run by the St. John's Well Child and Family Center, estimates it has vaccinated more than 100,000 people in the Los Angeles area amid reports of two undocumented women who were refused coronavirus vaccinations in Orange County Rite Aid stores. Rite Aid has called the refusals mistakes in a written statement.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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One shot doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are prepared at a clinic targeting immigrant community members on March 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The clinic, run by the St. John's Well Child and Family Center, estimates it has vaccinated more than 100,000 people in the Los Angeles area amid reports of two undocumented women who were refused coronavirus vaccinations in Orange County Rite Aid stores. Rite Aid has called the refusals mistakes in a written statement. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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The World Health Organization has warned that the world needs a "reality check" on the state of the pandemic, as countries abandon restrictions despite four weeks of rising deaths and seven weeks of rising cases globally. CNN's John Berman speaks with Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response, about what we need to be focusing on.
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization has warned that the world needs a "reality check" on the state of the pandemic, as countries abandon restrictions despite four weeks of rising deaths and seven weeks of rising cases globally. CNN's John Berman speaks with Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response, about what we need to be focusing on.
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A Northwell Health medical staff member prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Northwell Health pop-up coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island on April 08, 2021 in New York City. NYC continues to have a 6.55 percent coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on a seven-day rolling average as the city continues to ramp up vaccinations. The city last week set a record of 524,520 coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
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A Northwell Health medical staff member prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Northwell Health pop-up coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island on April 08, 2021 in New York City. NYC continues to have a 6.55 percent coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on a seven-day rolling average as the city continues to ramp up vaccinations. The city last week set a record of 524,520 coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: A Northwell Health medical staff member prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Northwell Health pop-up coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island on April 08, 2021 in New York City. NYC continues to have a 6.55 percent coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on a seven-day rolling average as the city continues to ramp up vaccinations. The city last week set a record of 524,520 coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: A Northwell Health medical staff member prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Northwell Health pop-up coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island on April 08, 2021 in New York City. NYC continues to have a 6.55 percent coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on a seven-day rolling average as the city continues to ramp up vaccinations. The city last week set a record of 524,520 coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
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A medical worker prepares to administer a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, March 23, 2021. American federal health officials say results from a U.S. trial of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine may have included "outdated information" and that could mean the company provided an incomplete view of efficacy data. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
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A medical worker prepares to administer a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, March 23, 2021. American federal health officials say results from a U.S. trial of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine may have included "outdated information" and that could mean the company provided an incomplete view of efficacy data. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
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(CNN) —  

Senators return to the Capitol Monday – many anxious about their safety as the coronavirus spreads – to tackle partisan disputes over additional legislation to combat the health and economic impact of the outbreak as well as the fates of two high-profile Trump administration nominees, one to lead the intelligence agencies and a second to join a powerful appeals court.

Members of the House will work from their districts this week, following the guidance of the Capitol’s attending physician that it’s too dangerous for 435 lawmakers and theirs staffs to crowd into the tight corridors on the House side of the Hill, especially as the number of cases in Washington, DC, is expected to peak in the coming days. The House is prepared to come back next week, if they have another coronavirus bill to approve, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will defy concerns because if doctors, nurses, delivery drivers and grocery clerks are essential, so are the 100 US senators, and routines will be modified to ensure safety.

When most senators left Washington almost six weeks ago, for an extended recess that was designed to give the virus time to subside, the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths were a fraction of what they are now. McConnell and Pelosi “respectfully” declined an offer from the Trump administration to deploy rapid coronavirus testing capabilities to Capitol Hill.

Special rules governing social distancing in the Capitol will be enforced, including limiting the number of senators on the floor at a time during votes and ensuring doorways aren’t crowded. Committees will be assigned the largest rooms available to conduct hearings, and face masks, which were barely seen in the Capitol at the end of March, will now be expected to be worn by all. However, US Capitol Police may ask people entering buildings to lower their masks in order to be identified, according to a notification from the Sergeant at Arms.

Coronavirus legislation

Amid the real health concerns and political tension, House and Senate negotiators must find common ground if they are going to pass anther coronavirus response bill. Even with the House out of session, those initial talks – posturing, at least – will begin in earnest this week. Congress has already approved about $3 trillion in relief since the onset of the pandemic but most lawmakers believe more help is needed. Republicans and Democrats disagree about how much to spend and how to spend it, and the administration has given mixed signals as to what, if anything, more should be done right now.

Democrats, who control the House and can filibuster bills in the Senate, are eyeing up to another $1 trillion to assist state and local governments, which they say have been crippled by the outbreak. But Republican leaders in the Senate are unlikely to go along with such a big figure. “Pretty outrageous,” is how GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas described it last week. McConnell charged that much of the money is desired by Democratic-led states that want help with their mismanaged budgets and pension obligations, an assertion Democratic governors called outrageous.

Republicans are insisting any new legislation must include liability reforms to protect health care providers and other businesses against what they fear will be a post-virus rush of litigation by lawyers trying to exploit the crisis. Democrats have chastised Republicans for pursuing such reforms, calling them unacceptable: “This idea of an absolute blanket shield from any legal responsibility for businesses is going to be a nonstarter,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut.

In addition to more funding, Senate Democrats are calling for oversight hearings to examine how effectively the Trump administration is spending the money already approved. They are also pushing Republicans to pass a national strategy to improve testing for coronavirus.

Congressional Democrats are furious the White House blocked the appearance of coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci before a House oversight hearing Wednesday, even as they accepted an invitation for him to appear next week before the GOP-led Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

DNI confirmation

The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Tuesday for Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas to the Director of National Intelligence, a critical post overseeing the many agencies that make up the Intelligence Community.

Ratcliffe was initially nominated to the post last year but withdrew after a storm of bipartisan criticism that he did not have a strong enough intelligence background and might be too loyal to Trump to be an effective teller of truth.

Ratcliffe was a vocal defender of Trump during the impeachment proceedings and was re-nominated. This time, he has the support of Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, something that may help him win the job even if there are still doubts about his qualifications. The open hearing, set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, is likely to be contentious.

Controversial judge

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Wednesday for Judge Justin Walker for a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, often called the second most powerful court in the land.

Walker, a protégé of McConnell’s, has drawn the ire of Democrats who accuse the majority leader of packing the federal judiciary with young conservative judges who will