A House committee hearing on the coronavirus pandemic turned heads Tuesday when a “monster” surfaced on a video conference line.
The mysterious, ominous noise appeared to be linked to the microphone of Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), who participated remotely in the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
Guthrie, seated at a desk in his remote video feed, touted a bill he wrote about counterfeit testing before asking health officials about school openings and nursing home safety.
The noise grew louder in waves during responses from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The bewildering racket, which at times sounded like something chomping down on Guthrie as the experts spoke, lasted several minutes.
“It sounded like there was a monster that was going to envelop you at some point there,” committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) quipped to Guthrie when Redfield and Fauci were done answering.
A spokesman for Guthrie did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In his remarks, Redfield said there was now “aggressive surveillance in the nursing homes across this country.”
Nursing home residents make up .6 percent of the US population but 35 percent of COVID-19 fatalities, he said.
Fauci said local school districts will have to make their own decisions on opening in the fall. Some communities will be able to open “like normal,” while others might consider “alterations of scheduling,” he said.
Video feeds have wreaked reputational havoc during the pandemic. In May, someone flushed a toilet during a Supreme Court oral argument. In April, a TV reporter accidentally broadcast her nude husband showering in the background.