All of the witnesses set to participate in a Senate committee hearing on the novel coronavirus this week, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, will testify remotely, the panel’s chairman announced Sunday.
The Tuesday hearing by the Republican-led Senate Health Committee was already going to feature remote testimony from Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, both of whom are self-quarantining following potential exposures to the virus last week.
The other two witnesses – Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services – had been planning to appear in person but will now do so remotely.
The Washington Post first reported the change of plans for the two officials.
The shift comes hours after Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper he would begin a “modified quarantine” after a potential exposure to the virus.
“After consulting with Dr. Fauci, and in an abundance of caution for our witnesses, senators, and the staff, all four Administration witnesses will appear by videoconference due to these unusual circumstances,” said Chairman Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, in a statement.
Alexander said he consulted with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Saturday about making a change to administration policies. The administration had previously opposed having its officials testify remotely.
The upcoming hearing will give senators on the panel a chance to hear “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 release from the committee.