Anthony Fauci during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in April. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci's goal for his testimony on the Hill today — to warn the country of the dangers of reopening too quickly — precisely undercuts what President Trump and the White House are trying to achieve this week.

The state of play: Trump and his team built its messaging this week around convincing Americans that they had enough testing and personal protective equipment to begin to safely return to work — and Trump has been publicly chiding blue-state governors for keeping their states closed longer than he'd like.

  • Fauci plans to tell a Senate hearing Tuesday Americans will face "needless suffering and death" if the U.S. prematurely reopens its economy during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times reports.
  • The NIAID director will testify via videoconference before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee COVID-19 hearing on when it's safe to return to work and school.

What they're saying: "The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely," Fauci wrote in an email to a Times reporter on Monday night.

  • "If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: 'Open America Again,' then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country," the top infectious diseases expert continued, in reference to the Trump administration's three-stage plan for states.
  • "This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal."

Between the lines: So you have the stark spectacle of the nation’s highest profile doctor and member of Trump’s coronavirus task force addressing the nation without the president by his side.

  • A big part of the reason some Trump advisers pushed to end his daily briefings — besides the negative political fallout — was because they wanted the public to hear less from the doctors, and more from the economists and the business cheerleaders for reopening.
  • Today we see Fauci's messaging run headlong into the White House's.

Of note: This will be the key White House Coronavirus Task Force member's first congressional appearance since President Trump declared a national emergency over the outbreak in March.

Background: Fauci, CDC chief Robert Redfield and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn are testifying remotely while self-isolating — days after Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary Katie Miller and Trump's valet tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is chairing the hearing remotely while in self-quarantine after a staff member tested positive.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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