An Oral History of the Day Everything Changed

Carolyn Maloney: I had worked very, very hard to get Dr. Anthony Fauci to testify before my committee. I saw him at a briefing and went up and asked him to testify. His staff was telling me that he couldn’t testify unless he had a month’s notice. He had told me he’d be glad to. He has served six different presidents, both Republican and Democrat. And in my introduction, I introduced him as America’s doctor. It was a very tense hearing, because about five minutes prior to the hearing we were told the agencies would need to cut the hearing short. There was an emergency meeting at the White House, that they could only testify for an hour and then they had to leave.

10:06 am—US House of Representatives, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing, Washington, DC:

Carolyn Maloney: Is the worst yet to come, Dr. Fauci?

Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Yes, it is.

Carolyn Maloney: Can you elaborate?

Anthony Fauci: Whenever you have an outbreak that you can start seeing community spread—which means by definition that you don’t know what the index case is and the way you can approach it is by contact tracing—then it becomes a situation where you’re not going to be able to effectively and efficiently contain it … We will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now. How much worse 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. Bottom line, it’s going to get worse.

After the hearing was cut short, there was no sign of any emergency White House meeting.

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