2. Even the Senate can't get enough tests
The Capitol's attending physician told senior Republican staff yesterday that he doesn't have the equipment for rapid or widespread testing for all 100 senators when they return to work Monday, Axios' Jonathan Swan and Sam Baker report.
- Why it matters: This is a microcosm of the national flaws in testing.
Rear Admiral Brian Monahan, Congress' attending physician, said on a conference call that he didn't have access to the 15-minute tests the White House has been using, per two sources familiar with the call.
- The doctor said on the call, first reported by Politico, that he didn't have enough to test asymptomatic senators — that he would only test people who are ill or show coronavirus symptoms.
- He said results could take "between two and seven business days," and senators will need to quarantine while they wait.
Behind the scenes: The topic of testing arose when one of the Republican chiefs of staff mentioned to Monahan that most senators are in the high-risk category. (The average age of a senator is 61.)
Between the lines: Some Democrats — including 86-year-old Dianne Feinstein — have expressed concern about Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to bring the Senate back. Speaker Pelosi is keeping the House home, citing advice from Monahan.
- McConnell's chief of staff, Sharon Soderstrom, said on the call that safety recommendations will include three senators to a table at Senate lunches.
The bottom line: Members of Congress skew older, and work in close quarters. Yet they can't get tests.
- That's the same reality facing poorer, more vulnerable people going back to work in front-line jobs — and who don't have aides and Capitol Police to keep people six feet away.
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