Moving The Nation Forward: A Conversation With U.S. Senator John Cornyn

Monday, May 11th 2020

He’s one of the most powerful people in Washington making key decisions on how the country responds to Covid-19. Judy Maggio talks live with U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas.

Interview Highlights

On what procedures need to be in place to reopen

I think public health needs to come first, but we have to also try to figure out how to emerge from this lockdown because obviously it's having a devastating impact, not only people who have no income, but on our economy more generally. So, I think that's why it's important to listen to the public health experts, people like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and others, and to give us their best advice about how we do that safely. We know that there are grocery clerks, there are nurses and doctors on the front line. There are other essential workers, so-called essential workers who've been doing this safely, using personal protective equipment and appropriate hygiene and social distancing. And I think this is something we can all and are learning to do, too.

On whether we have enough testing available

I just left a meeting with Dr. Francis Collins, of the National Institutes of Health, and we were talking about this. The truth is that there are a variety of different types of tests that are now becoming available. Unfortunately, some of them take a while, but then there are new ones from Abbott, quick tests where you can do it in five minutes. They're gonna be new antibody tests, which you can take ultimately, we hope in the privacy of your home to see if you have the antibodies. What's so confusing about this virus is, you may have it and not even know it. And so right now, only people who have symptoms and who asked to be tested, will be tested. At some point we need to broaden that more, broaden that more widely ... to give people the confidence that they can do so and do so safely. So, we're ramping the number of tests up dramatically every day. And to me, it's as much of a confidence builder, as anything else. But yes, we need more tests. We need smarter tests. We need quicker tests.

On the differing opinions from local and state officials about reopening

I think everybody's trying to do the best they can and to do that reopening safely. I've known the governor for a long time, and I talk to him a lot, just as I've talked to Judge Eckhardt and to Mayor Adler. They're in Austin, where I live. And, so there are some differences of opinion and I think, we're trying to strike that right balance. And I think only time will tell whether we've hit it. We may need to readapt if we have some hot spots, we have some unexpected breakouts, but as long as we can follow the guidelines from the public health officials on social distancing and the like. Nobody ever expected that we'd stay locked down until we get a vaccine. That may be months off. Hope, faster is better, but that's ultimately going to be the gold standard in terms of controlling this virus and protecting the most vulnerable population.

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