Lawmakers press for solutions from president’s COVID team as virus surges

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With the U.S. struggling to deal with omicron, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says the next challenge is preparing for future variants.

“The rapid development and implementation of successful countermeasures against several prototype pathogen families of viruses,” Fauci said.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is concerned about new vaccine development.

“Is the administration considering supporting the development of additional vaccines that might be able to address the gaps in the current vaccines capabilities,” Kaine asked.

HHS Assistant Secretary Dawn O’Connell replied, “Yes absolutely. I think we all see the need for next-generation vaccines.”

Democrats and Republicans share concerns about schools. The health experts say the solutions to keeping kids in the classroom are vaccinations and testing programs.

“So we saw through the delta surge that we are able to keep our children safely in school before we had vaccines,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky CDC director said.

Health officials also clarified what being exposed to the virus means in the age of omicron as Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and other lawmakers wanted an explanation.

“We’re in a room right now. I’m sure someone here has omicron. Are we all exposed and therefore need to get tested,” Romney asked.

Walensky replied, saying, “You should get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you do a rapid at-home test and you continue to have symptoms and that test is negative, you should do another test or get a PCR.”

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