Health officials are now working on several candidates for vaccines and treatments at a historically quick pace, Fauci assured lawmakers. Paul is the only senator to contract covid-19, the disease the virus causes, but has since recovered.
"I hope that if we do have the threat of a second wave, we will be able to deal with it very effectively to prevent it from becoming an outbreak, not only worse than now, but much much less", Fauci said. "The consequences could be really serious".
Tuesday's hearing was Dr Fauci's first congressional appearance since Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency on 13 March, and it was reported that the scientist was barred from testifying at an earlier House hearing.
But Alexander said current testing capacity remains inadequate for reopening large college and university campuses for in-person instruction.
More than 80,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the US.
Alexander said that "before we spend too much time finger-pointing", he said "all of us" underestimated this virus. "I will certainly advocate" for that.
Adm. Brett Giroir, MD, a member of the White House's coronavirus task force who was tapped to spearhead the administration's efforts on testing, tried to put a positive spin on the results so far, pointing out that the USA has conducted more than 9 million COVID-19 tests since March 12, the day he assumed his new role.
USA continues media battle with Beijing, limits Chinese journalists' visas
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called this move an escalation of suppression against Chinese media. Reporters would only have to apply to extend the visa if they moved to a different company or type of reporting.
The teleconference testimony comes as precautions are being put in place at the White House over fears the virus has invaded the West Wing, including a mandate that staffers must wear masks following positive coronavirus tests from one of the president's valets and the vice president's press secretary. Yet many of those have begun to reopen or are about to do so, including Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his daily briefing that his state alone needed $61 billion in federal stimulus to help reopen its economy. Other states that have not seen a 14-day decline, remain closed despite meeting some benchmarks.
Same for the marquee witnesses - Fauci, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration.
Cassidy acknowledged the risk of Kawasaki disease but asked Fauci if officials had examined risk-benefit ratios of returning to school versus a "missed year of education".
"I think we better be careful, if we are not cavalier, in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects", Fauci added. Most significantly, Trump will not be controlling the agenda.
Sanders, I-Vermont, asked Fauci about the official death toll which right now is around 80,000 in the U.S. And three countries that do have robust tracing systems - South Korea, Germany and China - have already seen new outbreaks after lockdown rules were relaxed.
Paul continued: "If we keep kids out of school for another year, what's going to happen is that poor and underprivileged kids who don't have a parent that's able to teach them at home are not going to learn for a full year".
"I'm not anxious about what you do on Sunday, I'm anxious about what you do the rest of the week", Alexander said in his opening remarks, quoting his preacher. "Certain countries are setting themselves up for some seriously blind driving over the next few months".