News Release

The Federal Government’s Response to Covid


On Tuesday, the congressional Covid-19 select committee held a hearing on the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Three witnesses selected by the Republican majority spoke: conservative physicians Jay Bhattacharya, Martin Kulldorff, and Marty Makary. 

    Harris is a Knight-Hennessey scholar at Stanford University, where she is a PhD candidate in biology. 

Harris told the Institute for Public Accuracy that she was pleased to hear that the majority’s witnesses––who have previously been in opposition to the widespread use of Covid-19 vaccines––nonetheless “emphasized pediatric vaccinations other than the Covid vaccine,” and did not take a “broadly anti-vaccine” stance during the talk. Harris hopes they will continue to hold that position, especially given that two of the witnesses serve on a Florida committee that plans to counter the CDC. Harris believes the committee will be under pressure to consider other childhood vaccinations.

Harris added: “This [hearing] could have been a chance to really take stock of what has happened,” and to discuss ongoing issues including the lack of federal paid sick leave, widespread hospital closures, and the lack of preparation for another possible pandemic. But much of the hearing was spent talking about the moderation of Bhattacharya’s personal Twitter account, which the witnesses allege may have been part of a government conspiracy. 

Though the witnesses call themselves underrepresented voices about the pandemic response, “all three of them have publicly advised policy makers throughout the pandemic,” Harris said.  “But there was no mention of the role they played as prominent policy advisors and the specific policies they recommended.” Instead, the hearing “perpetuated the narrative that they were ignored and silenced––though we know that they advised governors and President Trump.”

Harris added: “There was a lot of conversation about whether or not vaccines should have been mandated, or broad and unsupported statements that [Covid mitigation] measures were ineffective. But there was not a lot of focus on solutions. What are we going to do in the face of the next pandemic? And currently, what are we going to do about those who are still at risk of severe Covid?”