May 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Lamar Alexander to self-quarantine after staffer tests positive for coronavirus

Sen. Lamar Alexander during a committee hearing Thursday on new coronavirus tests on Capitol Hill. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is going into self-quarantine after a staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his office said in a statement on Sunday.

Why it matters: Alexander's committee is due to hold a COVID-19 hearing on Tuesday on safely returning to work and school. Anthony Fauci, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, CDC director Robert Redfiel are due to testify remotely after coming in "low risk" contact with a White House staffer who tested positive for the virus. The three health officials are all self-quarantining.

What they're saying: "After discussing this with the Senate’s attending physician, Senator Alexander, out of an abundance of caution, has decided not to return to Washington, D.C., and will self-quarantine in Tennessee for 14 days," the statement from his chief of staff David Cleary reads.

  • "Almost all of the senator’s Washington, D.C., staff are working from home, and there is no need for any other staff member to self-quarantine.
  • "The senator will be working remotely and will chair the Senate health committee hearing on Tuesday morning by videoconference."

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

About 40.7 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic began, including 2.1 million more claims filed from last week.

Why it matters: Even as states reopen their economies, Americans are still seeking relief. Revised data out Thursday also showed U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimate of 4.8%.

CDC: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," but more data is needed

CDC director Robert Redfield briefs reporters on April 8. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and it's unclear if people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

What they're saying: The agency explicitly warned against using antibody tests to determine whether someone should return to work or to group people within schools or prisons.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 5,731,837 — Total deaths: 356,606 — Total recoveries — 2,376,542Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,703,989 — Total deaths: 100,651 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  4. Business: U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter — 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.
  5. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  6. ⚽️ Sports: English Premier League set to return June 17.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy