tv Testing and Vaccines CSPAN September 16, 2020 1:58pm-2:22pm EDT
the number of cases will be the number of cases. we do more testing so we can detect more and more cases. that is a good thing. we want to detect as many cases as we can so that they can be appropriately isolated, did contact tracing, et cetera. it is true that the more testing you come, t you do, the more cases you discover. >> you talked in your testimony about expanding testing. and i couldn't endorse it more heart heartedly. but the president says the opposite, if you wouldn't have des, you wouldn't have cases. don't we want to create the mindset that regular testing to make sure that we're not positive and not spreading this disease should be routine until we come to grips with a therapy or vaccine to deal with this? >> i do want to state what i did state earlier in multiple testimonies. i've never been asked, told,
hibts hinted, suggested that we should decrease testing. in fact basically every time at the task force we worked to expand testing to the degree possible investing hundreds of billions in that. so my job is to expand testing as much as feezbly even in-feezbly possible. and get the right tests to the right people at the right time. and that has been my mission and in one has told me to alter that. >> andone has told me to alter . >> and the united states senate considered repealing the affordable care act. and i'll remember that morning, that night, forever. a few feet away from me, the late senator john mccain cast a no vote and the affordable care act survived. the president has said repeatedly that he has a replacement plan for the affordable care act. as head of the agencies responsible for dealing with such a public health undertaking, i would like to ask you, does replacement plan exist that you are aware of?
any of you? yes or no. admiral? >> i'm not involved in the replacement plan. i don't know what that is. i supply public health advice as much as i can for whatever that plan would be. >> dr. kadlec, are you aware? >> it is not in my portfolio and i've been so busy with the other things, i have no awareness. >> dr. redfield, are you aware of a replacement plan? >> again, it is not in my main lane. but i'm not aware of one. >> just a few weeks ago, the nine major pharmaceutical companies had full page ads saying that they would not bow to political pressure to rush a vaccine into production. were any of you consulted before they made the decision to buy that ad across the united states? >> sir, not consulted but aware of it. and it conforms with i think the
feelings and commitments that the leadership in warp speed and my organization are committed to as well. >> do you know why they did it? >> i think to the point of being sure that everyone is believing in the same way, which is that the safe and efficacious vaccine has to be trusted. >> thank you. >> cdc director dr. redfield answered questions from senators today on u.s. coronavirus response. and how soon a vaccine might be available to the public. watch the entire present yagss subcommittee hearing tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. but you can also find it online at cspan.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. it has been interesting how much of the dialogue has been about politics and about the election. i do appreciate the work that you are doing regardless of party. i don't find people getting covid only if they are republican, democrat or independent. so i appreciate the ongoing work that you have done for a very
long time. your days are very long and your work is very important. and so we appreciate the work that you continue to be able to do. and this hearing shouldn't try to be some sort of political trap for the president, it should be about the facts and details. so i appreciate that. let me ask you a couple quick questions on this. i want to dig into there has been a lot of conversation about the amount of resources that is needed for the vaccines especially. and for vaccine production and distribution. what do you still need for vaccine production and distribution as far as supplemental appropriations? >> senator, thanks for that question. at this point we have funded six vaccine candidates for both advanced development and manufacture. i think at this stage the $13.6 billion that has been appropriated -- or pardon me, committed for this purpose is adequate for the initial part of
this. if you are talking about at the point in time when one vaccine candidate may fail and we may have to replace it with another candidate or expand production of another, that could basically change our accounting and our calculus for what we would need. but at this stage, we have what we need and we're poised at least at this point by i think by the end of this month and into early october to at least have the funds that we need to basically provide for the first several candidates. >> that is good to know. there is obviously six different candidates going through the vaccine process right now because no one knows if any one of them will be successful. so you have basically six hook in the water at this point. i want to drill done on the candidadown on the candidates.done on the d on the candidates. some have chosen to do ethical production that is they are not use tissue aborted children.
some have chosen to use abc bn d tissue. how are you balancing out that there is an eftd cal alternative who didn't want to take a vaccine using the tissue of an brted child? >> i will have to take that for the record and bring you back an answer to get more details on those particular matters. i don't have that immediately available and i don't want to misspeak. >> fair enough. dr. redfield, i didn i didn't a that in. >> i would have to go back and see specifically. my recollection is that we'll have a number of candidates that won't compromise one's ethic related to the use of human tissue, but imhave to get back to you too because i don't want to say something that is
incorrect. >> and it is not just human tissue. there are some companies that are using adult stem cells, some are using placentas from children after birth. those are not objectionable. i don't find anyone challenging that. so it is not justtissue, it is aborted children. and moderna is using embryonic kidney cells from aborted children. johnson & johnson is using aborted children embryonic retinal tissue for its production. there are others not choosing to use those tissues from children. so i think that there just needs to be as many options out there as we can and again, i just wonder on the science side if we don't have to use tissue from an b aborted children, why would we when there where others choosing to develop vaccines that are not being used that way.when there g to develop vaccines that are not being used that way.
so i want to see what options are out there and how we're handling the funding and what direction that we'll go and long term for vaccines, most of the vaccines that we have in america now don't use embryonic tissue in it. there is still some that still do, that that is the line that is still used. and again, when we don't have to do that, why would we. to have it as ethical as we possibly can. so appreciate the work and we'll follow up in the days ahead on this particular topic because i think that it is very important that as many people get vaccinated as possible and i don't want to have the reason for people to not go get a vaccine because they are concerned about the origin of the vaccine. i want as many people as possible to actually get a vaccine because i think that it is important and it has been an odd conversation to hear so much of people saying that i'm challenging whether we'll get a vaccine because the trump administration may be rushing this and so i don't want to get one. i think that we need to have nothing that distracts from the science and details of this.
appreciate your work. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the panelists for being here. i'll start with admiral giroir. you said in july that it was not a question that we would be soon running a million tests per day. we've gone from about 800,000 tests per day to 675,000 tests per day. what is happening? >> there is -- i want to be clear that we're talking about capability to produce tests and i think we need to always draw the distinction between how many tests we have that could be deployed and what the states are doing. in august, for example, the state's total, the state's combined goals were in the low 20 millions of tests which they exceeded to 25 million. but what we're seeing at some parts of the country is testing is going down. we're trying to change that.
i know you're from hawaii. we have a surge site in honolulu right now to test 5,000 per day and moving to -- >> you're saying this is provisional. is this a supply chain problem or are you saying that states are individually deciding to do less testing? >> this is not a supply chain problem. we will have -- we had double the available ability of tests in august and over 90 million tests available in september. i would assume a higher proportion will be done because they're easy to do. they're point of care by next testing and surging in nursing homes. but this is not a supply problem for testing. >> could with e talk about they
income tax testing? >> yes. >> because i guess where a lot of people are coming from is that we hope you're right, this new test is a game changer and we are pleased and i think it is helpful in the context of first responders and nursing homes and perhaps educational context as well. but it is a card and as you know you can't really process that many tests at once this way. and so although it is really useful in certain contexts, it is not going to get you the -- to your 90 million tests goal. in your testimony today, today you say that we should have 90 million tests completed by the end of september and we're half way through september and we're at 10 million tests. >> did not say that. >> in today's testimony. >> i said we'll have the availability of 90 million tests in september, i never stated that we could do 90 million tests in september. we're hoping that the testing will go up. let me say about binax, it only takes a swab and wait 15 minutes. i could probably swab everyone in this room in about five or ten minutes. it is a low through-put test but you could do them rapidly and quickly.
so i would expect that as many as these as get put in the market particularly using in nursing homes and assisted living and to support k through 12 that they would be used rapidly. >> what is the difference between testing availability and testing completed. that is a distinction that is lost on the ground. to know that there are 90 million tests theoretically available, but the nursing homes, the schools, the first responders, the firehouses, they don't have the tests available. so what does it mean that this is theoretically available to do 90 million test and yet people can't get their hands on a test? >> i don't think that is true. i think people could get their hands on the test, even with federal sites we have 2700 in retailers, we have surge sites, there is enormous capability in the referral labs.
so the testing is available. even when we do surge sites, unless there is not a public order that demands people to come in and get a swab up their nose. this is voluntary and sometimes the demand is not there. and with the binax, that is one reason that we purchased them all for the federal government, the first 150 million to make sure they got to sites that could use them and benefit them like nursing homes, assisted living, tribes, hcbus, disaster situations and in just a couple of weeks to support k through 12 so i do expect -- >> i know you're working on this and trying to do this in good faith. but i want to convey to you that when the surge testing happened in the state of hawaii, on the island of oahu, that we were able to have the tests available
to do what it is that is possible under circumstances and only because we saw a precipitous spike in covid cases. so it is not true, it is not true that tests are available for first responders. >> i disagree, i respectfully disagree with you that if the state of hawaii, you have a turnaround time of under 24 hours with the acla labs and i'm happy to work with your state but there is no reason before the surge -- you could have hired this company to come do the surge for you. we did it, sent it down there. and the demand was great. hawaii has been unbelievable to work with. we've been doing fully subscribed 5,000 tests a day but i'm happy to work with hawaii. the surgeon general just went down, we're expanding on the big island. there is no reason that first responders could not have been tested before the surge.
>> and i'll end with this, and i'm sure my time is almost up, there is continuing to be a disconnect of how things are represented in this committee in the u.s. congress and how things are felt on the ground. this was evident in february when we met with hhs and it continues to be the case here. we hear lots of triumphant entertainments with lots of data, but on the ground people still lack resources. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator baldwin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. so the administration's failure to confront this deadly pandemic has led to lost lives. there is still an urgent need to provide more support to our communities and i'm increasingly concerned that the funds appropriated thus far have not been handled as well as they could.
they've been misused and mishandled. last month i wrote to vice president pence about a health system in my state that temporarily suspended covid testing for patients undergoing surgery because of the supply shortages. i've heard from assisted living facilities that they can't get the tests that they've ordered and academic medical centers that aren't able to secure a reliable source of reagent. however, wisconsin did receive unrequested hydroxychloroquine before it ever received a ventilator. congress provided more than $16 billion for the strategic national stockpile for critical supplies of ppe. less than 9 billion of that has been obligated for the stockpile.
dr. kadlec, what percentage of the funds appropriated for the stockpile this year have helped states get the ppe and testing supplies they need as of this moment, what is that percentage? >> ma'am, i'll have to get back to you with the percentage. but what we have done in terms of our approach to basically managing the ppe part, and i'll defer to admiral giroir to talk about the testing piece, is that we've basically made available everything that we had in our stockpile by may, beginning in march with the monies available in the c.a.r.e.s. act, the subsequent c.a.r.e.s. act, we've been funding, if you will, the purchase of personal protective equipment to be distributed through commercial distributors directly to hospitals and only beginning in june and july have we been filling, replenishing our stockpile as part of a strategy to make available three months of supply for the fall
and winter should that be necessary. we are by a virtue of tele-tracking now getting information from hospitals. last week about 95% of hospitals have been reporting to us. and i'm just looking at your state, ma'am. we've identified that 16% of hospitals have one shortage of ppe that may be one type of ppe that may be three days of supply or less. >> right. i'm aware of the wisconsin statistics. but i'm also aware of the $16 billion that we appropriated to address stockpile issues. so you may have chosen a different strategy. but i think when we're six months into this pandemic, and we still can't get the supplies we need, and you've identified the supplies that are in high demand, that you should use the money we appropriated to obtain those things.
congress also provided $1 billion for department of defense for similar purposes and the president delegated authorities under the defense production act to hhs to increase production of personal protective equipment, department of defense has only used $300 million for ppe and said they would use the rest to support the defense industrial base. dr. kadlec, how much funding have you spent on increasing domestic manufacturing capacity using all of the dpa authorities available to you so that we could prepare for the remainder of this pandemic or future pandemics? >> yes, ma'am. so far we've awarded $638 million for that purpose. which runs the gamut from addressing shortages of diagnostics and ancillary supplies, n-95 respirators and
filter media for masks and ventilators and gloves and surgical masks and ventilator supply chain. there are other things to be considered at this point in time to use the rest of the fund but we're trying to be strategic. >> what is melt blown? >> that is the fiber material used in the disposable surgical masks, n-95 and the -- >> and have you used the dpa to either increase production of melt blown in the u.s.? i'm not talking about contracting, i'm talking about using the dpa authorities? >> yes, ma'am, we have. >> and have you used dpa authorities to shut off the export of melt blown when it is obviously so needed here? >> ma'am, i'm going to have to get back to you on a firm answer
on that but my recollection is that we have. we did limit the export of that material and i have to be sure and return to -- >> please do. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. redfield, have you been part of the task force since this beginning? >> yes, sir. >> so see if i got the time line right. i believe president trump was briefed by mr. o'brien on january 28th. you had a major problem coming out of china when it comes to the coronavirus. he sets up the task force on january 29th, is that correct? >> that is my recollection, sir. >> okay. on january 31st the president issued an order called the china travel ban. does that sound right? >> yes, sir, 31st of january is when the request was to inhibit travel to china. >> okay. on february 29th dr. fauci was asked by a host of the "today"
show, this is saturday morning, people waking up right now were real concerned about this. they want to go to malls and movies and maybe the gym as well. should we be changing our habits and, if so, how. dr. fauci said, february 29th, no, right now at this moment there is no need to change anything that you're doing on a day-by-day basis. right now the risk is still low but this could change. is that the general view back in february 29, did you agree with that assessment? >> at that time there was limited evidence of community transmission in the united states. >> okay. so in march there was an order basically issued declaring this a national emergency. do you recall that? march 11th. >> yes. i think secretary azar called it a public health emergency.
i think it was on the 27th and the national emergency on the 13th. >> on march 11th we do a travel ban from europe is that right. >> yes, sir. >> between january 29th and the 14th did the task force recommend shutting the country down. >> no, sir. >> and when they declared this a national emergency to encourage shelter-in-place orders, did the president respond to the recommendation of the task force. >> yes, sir. >> was there anytime where the president refused to take the recommendation of the task force? was there any question about shutting the economy down before he made that decision? >> not in the decisions that i was involved in. >> thank you. so, vaccines. if we found a vaccine, let's say next month, at the end of october, how long would it take for it to be distributed throughout the country and to become effective?