Tensions rise during Senate hearing as health officials push for more vaccinations


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S COVID-19 infection rate is once again surging, up 140 percent in the past two weeks and deaths are up 33 percent. Some of the nation`s top health officials were back on capitol hill today to testify on a path forward to end the pandemic.

“Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about quite frankly,” White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

“You’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for four million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said.

A heated exchange between Dr. Fauci and Paul, as health officials testified about the future of the pandemic.

“There will be responsibility for those who funded the lab including yourself,” Paul said.

Paul claimed the national institutes of health funded controversial research that could have contributed to the pandemic. Dr. Fauci says that’s not true.

“And if anybody is lying here senator it is you,” Fauci said.

Investigations into the origins of COVID-19 are still underway, as the Delta variant surges in the U.S.

“The Delta variant now represents 83% of sequenced cases,” CDC Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

Walensky says the percentages are even higher in areas where vaccinations rates are low.

“The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants, is to prevent the spread of disease and vaccination is the most powerful tool we have,” Walensky said.

Walensky says more vaccinations are needed to further protect the nation, a message Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) supports.

“These shots need to get in everybody’s arms as rapidly as possible or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for, that we went through last year,” McConnell said.

When asked about students returning to school, Dr. Walensky recommended prevention strategies such as wearing masks, to protect those who are still unvaccinated.

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