Newswise — Public health and safety must be paramount when taking action to reopen the nation during the coronavirus pandemic, Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, will tell Congress tomorrow. Benjamin will share expert information with the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Reform’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on May 13 as part of an invited panel.

Other panelists in the congressional briefing will virtually address plans to guide federal and state work on testing, tracing and targeted containment before reopening, according to the committee. The hearing, which will be livestreamed, begins at 3 p.m. ET.

“Congress and the American people need to hear directly from experts to get the ground truth and determine specific steps we need to take to develop a coordinated and comprehensive testing, tracing and supported isolation plan to reopen the country,” according to a statement from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, chaired by Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the House majority whip.

Benjamin, who has led APHA as executive director since 2002, is a former secretary for health for the state of Maryland and is regularly sought for his expertise on health issues impacting the nation, particularly during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. During his career, Benjamin has been a leader in the response to many public health emergencies, including the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, the 2003 SARS outbreak and the growing health threats of climate change.

During tomorrow’s congressional briefing, Benjamin will discuss the front-line public health response to the pandemic, the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having on minority communities and the need for building an adequate and sustainable public health system.

Other experts slated to testify before the House subcommittee are: Scott Gottlieb, MD, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; Tom Inglesby, MD, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Affairs; Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute; and Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The briefing is the first from the select subcommittee, which was created in April to oversee the federal response to the coronavirus crisis.


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