“We’re supposed to be leading the world. Instead, we are trailing far behind,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, the committee’s chairwoman, referring to the vast number of those tested in South Korea, where more than 100,000 people have been checked for the virus. “We didn’t even test a fraction of that number. Why did it take so long?”
Representative Jim Cooper, Democrat of Tennessee, asked Dr. Redfield if there were plans for drive-through testing — a model South Korea has deployed — so emergency rooms would not become panicked if someone entered with a cough.
“We’re trying to maintain the relationships between individuals and their health care providers,” Dr. Redfield said.
Mr. Cooper then accused Dr. Redfield of appearing to say that “the professional monetary relationship comes before public health.”
The hearing had a sharper tone than others, in part because two members of the committee — Representatives Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who was recently named White House chief of staff, and Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona — were not attending because they were in self-quarantine. Both lawmakers announced they had potentially come into contact with a person infected by the virus at a conservative political conference.
Mr. Trump began negotiations with Congress on Tuesday for an emergency relief package, with the president calling for a temporary elimination of payroll taxes that could cost nearly $700 billion, rivaling the financial bailout of 2008.
Members from both parties oppose the plan, but some believe it could be included in a broader package that deals with sick pay, unemployment benefits and food assistance. Financial markets rallied on news of the talks.
Axios reported on Wednesday that Dr. Brian Monahan, the in-house physician for Congress, told Capitol Hill staff members this week that he expected 70 million to 150 million Americans to contract the virus, approximately a third of the country.
Alan Rappeport and Katie Rogers contributed reporting.