Senator Lamar Alexander to Chair COVID-19 Hearing Tuesday

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Sunday that someone could potentially test themselves for COVID-19 using something as seemingly mundane as a lollipop.

Alexander said this on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“You might be able to put a lollipop in your mouth with a swab and take a picture of it with your cell phone. If it lights up then you’re positive,” Alexander told host Chuck Todd, while referring to one potential breakthrough.

“Or you can send that swab to a laboratory that’s not too far away. They use what they call gene sequencing machines that are already there. They can do tens of thousands of tests very quickly. Lower the risk of COVID-19 on [a college] campus, and you’ll be safe enough to come back and bring your tuition money and your dorm rent.”

On Tuesday Alexander is scheduled to chair a Senate Health Committee hearing on the federal government’s response to COVID-19. Officials from various government agencies are scheduled to update senators about what state and local governments are doing to help Americans get back to work and school as rapidly and safely as possible, according to an emailed press release.

“What we have done is very impressive, according to Johns Hopkins. The United States has tested more than 8 million people. That’s twice as many as any country, more per capita than almost all countries, including South Korea,” Alexander told Todd.

“It’s enough to do what we need to do today to reopen, for example, but it’s not enough when 35,000 kids and faculty show up at the University of Tennessee campus in August.”

Alexander chaired a hearing last week —“Shark Tank: New Tests for COVID-19”—that featured testimony from Dr. Francis Collins of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Gary Disbrow of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. They discussed efforts to create new technologies designed to produce tens of millions of COVID-19 tests, according to Alexander’s emailed press release.

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