Lawmakers question effectiveness of new travel restrictions

Washington DC

President Trump said coronavirus testing is 'going very smooth'

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Trump announced several new steps to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, like new travel restrictions but some lawmakers on Capitol Hill worry those steps are coming too late and asked the country’s top experts whether the new travel restrictions will be effective.

“Over the next few days, we’re going to have 4 million tests out over the next few days. Frankly, testing is going very smooth,” Trump said Wednesday.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told lawmakers at a congressional hearing that tests are not available for everyone who wants them.

“It is failing, let’s admit it,” Fauci said. “The idea of anybody getting it easily, th way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not.”

Democrats on Capitol Hill are frustrated over what they call mixed messages and they’re worried the new European travel restrictions are too little, too late.

But Dr. Fauci says the travel restrictions should help reduce the number of new cases.

“It’s very clear that 70 of the new infections in the world are coming from that region, from Europe,” said Fauci.

Democrats like Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici say all Americans are responsible for stopping the spread.

“Making sure they’re keeping a distance from people and, importantly, staying home if they’re experiencing symptoms,” she said.

And Republicans agree.

“We want to be taking good proactive steps,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD). “Just a little bit of isolation does make a difference.”

Some reports estimate tens of millions of Americans could contract the virus but these top health experts said the final outcome remains unpredictable.

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