Nobody planned it this way, but a Senate hearing on reopening workplaces and schools safely is turning into a teaching moment on the fickle nature of the coronavirus outbreak.
Senior health officials scheduled to testify in person before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee on Tuesday will instead appear via video link after going into self-quarantine, following their exposure to a White House staffer who tested positive for COVID-19.
The chairman of the committee, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, also put himself in quarantine after an aide tested positive. He’ll participate by video, too.
Community Interviews with Moose FM
Even before the gavel drops, the hearing offers two takeaways for the rest of the country, said John Auerbach, president of the nonprofit public health group Trust for America’s Health.
“One thing it tells you is that the virus can have an impact in any workplace setting or any community setting,” said Auerbach. “All businesses will find it very challenging to ensure safety when there are cases.”
Story continues below advertisement
Another lesson is that the public officials involved are taking the virus seriously by not appearing in person. “They are following the guidelines that they are recommending to others,” said Auerbach.