(CNSNews.com) - People who return to the United States from travel to other countries are bringing coronavirus with them; and from there, it spreads through communities, making the challenge to contain the illness much greater, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a House Oversight hearing on Wednesday.
“So I can say we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now," Fauci said.
“How much worse they'll get will depend on our ability to do two things: to contain the influx of the people who are infected coming from the outside; and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country. Bottom line, it's going to get worse."
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the oversight committee, pressed Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield about the lack of widespread testing.
Fauci said tests are being done at all federal labs in the United States, and now, as commercial entities get involved, that will become more prevalent.
There are two aspects of testing, Fauci explained:
One, a person comes in to a physician and asks for a test because they have symptoms or a circumstance which suggests they may be infected.
The other way to do testing is to do surveillance, where you go out into the community and not wait for someone to come in and ask for a test, but you proactively get the test.
We are pushing for that, and as Bob -- Dr. Redfield will tell you, that the CDC has largely started that in six sentinel cities and will expand that in many more cities.
But you're absolutely correct -- we need to know how many people, to the best of our ability, are infected, as we say, under the radar screen.
Dr. Redfield told the committee that public health departments now have 75,000 tests. And the private sector is cooperating to produce their own tests:
"And as we sit here today, Quest and LabCorp are now offering this test in their doctors' offices throughout this country. But it's not for an individual just to take a test. They need to go see a health care official, have an assessment to determine if a test is indicated, and then get that test.”
As of Wednesday morning, around 1,000 people in the United States are known to be infected with the coronavirus in 37 states and the District of Columbia. At least 32 people have died.