WASHINGTON (SPECTRUM NEWS) — Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want answers from the Trump administration as the number of patients tested for the coronavirus grows in Wisconsin.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin is putting pressure on the federal government to announce its efforts to combat the outbreak after the CDC confirmed 13 cases across six states.
He held a roundtable on Wednesday with former government health experts on lessons learned from the US's handling of previous pandemics but noticeably absent from the discussion were current Trump administration officials.
“I’ll say upfront, I’m disappointed we don’t have a representative from DHS or HHS, CDC here,” he said.
Sen. Johnson has been calling for transparency from the administration for weeks by pressing departments like Homeland Security for answers.
He said the hearing put into perspective the challenges ahead for addressing this problem and it’s a concern considering he's still waiting to hear solutions.
“One of the big takeaways of this hearing is we don’t have the manufacturing capability for a host of different products we’re going to need if this thing becomes a huge outbreak so that’s something we need to address longterm whether it’s coronavirus or some future pandemic as well,” said Sen. Johnson.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin has Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in her crosshairs.
She was one of 30 senators asking the department for its plan.
In a letter to the secretary, the senators asked what more can Congress do to fully support the administration’s response and what progress has been made on development of a vaccine?
“I’m committed to making sure that our federal agencies and local communities have the tools they need to fight the coronavirus and keep families safe,” Sen. Baldwin wrote in a statement.
Lawmakers’ efforts aside, Wisconsin’s DHS is making clear the immediate health risk to the general public is low.
According to their numbers, of the 15 patients tested for the virus only one case has been confirmed.
The other 14 test results were negative.