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tv   White House COVID-19 Team Holds Briefing  CSPAN  March 22, 2021 11:24pm-11:52pm EDT

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signed into law at an event in columbus, ohio. on c-span2, the senate is back at 10:00 a.m. to debate and vote on the nominations shalonda juncker to be white house -- shalonda young to be white house deputy -- the senate judiciary committee hears testimony on ways to reduce gun violence, then a hearing with the acting director of the u.s. census bureau providing an update on the 2020 census. the white house covid-19 response team gave an update on the pandemic, including the latest results from the u.s. trial of astrazeneca's vaccine. this runs 25 minutes. day. this is just under half an hour. >> good morning, thank you for joining us. we are two months into the national strategy to defeat covid-19. at the heart of the plan are a
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number of critical activities, vaccinations. we have had significant vaccine production at a level double what we arrived with, acquiring enough vaccines for the population and setting up a deadline of may 1 by which all americans should be eligible to get a vaccine. we have done this not only by increasing vaccine production but adding thousands of vaccinators at locations where they can get vaccinated. it's now vaccinating 2.5 million people per day. this weekend was the first time the u.s. reported vaccinating more than 3 million people on consecutive days. there are now a total of 81 million people, one in three adults, with at least one vaccine dose in the u.s. and 44
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million who are fully vaccinated . nearly 69% of seniors have now received their first vaccination. 42% are fully vaccinated. a second core element of the plan is to get schools open and open safely. this has been following the science, dramatically increasing testing and making it a priority to vaccinate teachers. with $10 billion committed to testing so far, schools have enough resources to properly test their students and staff. today we are taking another step in building equitable efficient response. the state of washington will receive its first federally -- federal community vaccination site. the yakima county cbc will be able to offer 1200 shots per day . local residents will be able to drive through the central
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washington state fair park and get a shot. this is the 22nd federally run vaccination site that's been open and as you can see from the tweets on the street here, the sites get great reviews as a place to get vaccinated. combined, they deliver nearly 100,000 shots per day. all of the sites are in areas defined by the cdc as having a high social vulnerability rating. in fact, against the backdrop of inequity equity and vaccine distribution generally and the severe toll taken by the virus on people of color, in federal vaccination centers over 60% of the shots have gone to people of color. for example, yakima county has been particularly hard-hit throughout the covid-19 pandemic , with disproportionately high infection rates compared to the
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rest of the state. the president has set a goal of doubling the number of community vaccination centers run by fema and the u.s. military to make sure we reach the hardest hit communities in this historic effort. we have much more work to do but further progress was made this weekend and with that, i'm going to turn this over to dr. belinsky and then dr. fauci for some important updates. >> i'm delighted to be back with you today. let's start with the overview on the pandemic. the most recent seven day average is 53,000 cases per day, a slight increase from the previous seven days. over the past two weeks people have continue to fluctuate somewhere between 50,000 daily cases and 60,000 daily cases. the most recent average for admissions is just over 4500 per
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day. hospital admissions have been relatively stable over the past two weeks, hovering around 4500 to 5000 per day. continuing to decline, a lagging indicator, the recent seven day average of deaths was at slightly over 1000 per day. slightly under 1000 per day. the leveling off of cases and admissions in early january through february, i consider that to be concerning. in addition, while death continues to drop, it remains at elevated levels and in the past week the rate of decline of deaths has slowed. some states and regions of the country, such as the northeast and upper midwest beginning to again see a significant rise in
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cases. taken together, thus statistics should serve as a warning sign for the american people. as i have stated before, continued relaxation of preventative measures while cases are still i and a variance spread rapidly through the united states is a serious threat to the progress we have made as a nation. increasingly states are seeing a growing proportion of cases attributed to variance. the newly identified variant is estimated to account for 62% of cases in california. 41% in nevada. 25% in arizona. the b.1.1.7 variant is estimated to be responsible for 9% of cases in new jersey and 8% in florida. believe me, i get it. we all want to return to our
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everyday activities and spend time with our family, friends, and loved ones. but we must find the fortitude to hang in there for just a little bit longer. we are at a critical point in the pandemic, he for can the road where we must decide the path we are going to take and we must act now and i am worried that if we don't take the right actions now we will have another avoidable surge, just as we are seeing in europe right now. just as we are so aggressively dealing with vaccination. nearly 25% of the american population has received at least one dose and 44 million people, 13% of the population is fully vaccinated. and we have more vaccine supply on the way. until then, we must do everything we can to stop the spread of covid-19 and proliferation of variance while
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we get more people vaccinated. we now have 69% of adults over the age of 65 who received at least one vaccine dose and 42% who are fully vaccinated. and we have seen that the vaccines are working. with increasing numbers of those over 65 now fully vaccinated, we are seeing the benefits. for the first time since last summer their percentage of those over 65 heading to the emergency departments because of covid-19 is lower than those aged 26 to 45 in the united states. these vaccines work. there are positive kinks in the curve. we need to remain vigilant as we quickly get the rest of the american people fully vaccinated . i'm calling the american people to action, vaccinated or not, to recommit to doing the right thing. take the steps that we know work to stop covid-19.
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where a well fitted mask, socially distance, avoid cap -- avoid crowds and travel and get ready to roll up your sleeve when the vaccine is available. thank you, i will now turn things over to dr. fauci. >> thank you very much. we had good news today in the field of vaccines. that has to do with the results announced yesterday from the astrazeneca trial. as shown on this slide, there are three platforms that have six companies involved. for the discussion over the next couple of minutes, we will be looking at the vector used by astrazeneca that yesterday revealed the results of their phase three trial. next slide. just to refresh your memory, the vector that is used in this platform is the virus in which
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the covid spike protein was inserted. that non-replication harmless virus is injected into the muscle of an individual. the dna then codes rna that then essentially codes for the spike protein that the body makes the immune response against. that is the fundamental mechanism of this platform. next slide. so, the data. we are talking about a phase three trial involving 32,000 participants who are 18 years of age and older at 88 sites, mostly in the united states but a small amount in chilly in peru with a 2-1 randomization of vaccine placebo. the demographic distribution is shown here, around 79% white. 22% hispanic. 8% black african-american.
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4% native americans including native alaskans residing in the united states. 20% were 65 years of age or older. and 60% had co-morbidities associated with an increased risk for progression of severe covid-19 such as diabetes, severe obesity or cardiac disease. this is important to get that many people well who have comorbidities. so right at the efficacy data, good results. 78.9% vaccine efficacy at preventing symptomatic disease. importantly with regard to severe or critical disease requiring hospital utilization, there was zero in the vaccine arm and five in the placebo arm. the good news is also that there was comparable efficacy across ethnicity and age, namely, a very good efficacy, 79.9% in participants who are 65 years of age or older.
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next slide. the reactogenicity and overall safety profile were good. the vaccine was well-tolerated and the data and safety monitoring board identified no specific safety concerns related to the vaccines. importantly, and this is a quote from the dsmb, "no evidence of disproportionate risk of thrombosis among the 21,583 participants who received at least one dose. an in-depth search of the database for venous thrombosis revealed no events in this study." next slide. the united states government has played a significant role in the conduct of this trial. it was funded by barta and by niaid in a trial led by the company, astrazeneca. the niaid supported by its
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clinical trial network, the covpn. the data and safety monitoring board was formed by niaid, which monitored the trial to ensure safety and validity of the data , and niaid intramural investigators, coauthored key preclinical studies. and finally, on the last slide, importantly, this vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at refrigerator temperatures for at least six months. also importantly, conditional marketing authorization or emergency use is already in play in more than 70 countries across six continents. and it has been given emergency-use listing by the who. i'll stop there and back to you, andy. andy: thank you, dr. fauci, dr. walensky.
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let's go to questions please. >> first question will go to dan vergano at buzzfeed news. reporter: thanks very much. i'm wondering if you could comment on what you see going forward, if we continue vaccinating the most high risk and elderly with regard to the death rates versus the case rates, are we going to see a much lower death rate overall with continuing relatively high case numbers? and does that communicate your message about vaccination if the death rates decline? it's a great thing of course, but i wonder what kind of world we're going to see going forward with way more people getting vaccinated. thanks. >> why don't we start with dr. walensky and then dr. fauci? dr. walensky: yeah, it's an important question for us to consider. i think one thing we have to realize is that there are still a death rate among people who are under the age of 65 and that death rate is certainly going to be consistent with the number of cases we have overall. so while i consider it extraordinarily good news that our death rate is declining. those who have been vaccinated, there is still a death rate among those who are over, you know, 25 over 20.
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and as those cases continue to increase in that demographic, we will see death rates in that demographic as well. so i think the messaging is very consistent. we still need to be vaccinating everyone who is eligible. andy: dr. fauci, anything you would add? dr fauci: no, just to underscore what dr. walesnky said. every time we look at data, it looks at when you're dealing with severe outcomes, hospitalizations and deaths, the vaccines, all of them have a very good track record. so, as dr walensky said, that just underscores the importance of getting everybody vaccinated as quickly as possibly can. andy: great. thank you. next question. >> next we're going to tom hill at the washington times. reporter: hey, thanks for doing the call. with the astrazeneca news and also robust data from novavax, it looks like both of them might get emergency approval by may. i'm just wondering how you're thinking about that in terms of supplies, the challenge shifting
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now to what to do with any surplus, how to maintain interest in the shots here at home, how are you kind of working through whether we're going to have more supplies than we need and what the challenges are now. thanks. andy: thank you. so, first of all, i'll start and then see if dr. fauci, you want to add something. i think it's too early for us to declare that we're in a surplus position. we have been carefully planning. we have, obviously the highest priority is to, as dr. fauci just said, to vaccinate the us public as quickly as possible. obviously, the more we get confidence in our increased supply, the more flexibility that gives us for different events down the road, whether it's vaccinating adolescents, whether it is sharing that supply with other countries.
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as we announced at the end of last week, 4 million doses were just shared with mexico and canada. or whether it's other events. so we are obviously monitoring the scenarios very closely and tracking these closely. obviously, it is great news for both the united states and the world the more vaccines and the more supply that exists. dr. fauci, anything you'd add? dr fauci: no, actually, andy you said it very well. i just want to underscore one aspect of it, which was on one of the slides that i mentioned , that there are many countries in europe and throughout the world who have already authorized this. so the fact that a united states-run study has confirmed the efficacy and the safety of this vaccine, i think, is an important contribution to global health in general. stop there. andy: yep. and something that dr. fauci you may want to -- both of us would say is, it's important to just remind everyone, we cannot and will not get ahead of the fda. the fda has incredibly rigorous scientific process.
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so while we would certainly call , today's news encouraging, it's the kind of thing we like to see, we have a rigorous process that will come once an eua is submitted, and that will give us all more information and reason to be comfortable. next question. >> let's go to jeremy diamond at cnn. reporter: hey, thanks for doing the briefing as always. first of all, i'm wondering, we have been between 54000 and 58,000 new daily cases over the last two weeks. you guys are warning about the potential risks in that. what more are you doing to encourage states to maintain or reimpose coronavirus restrictions rather than relaxing them as so many are? secondly, do you still expect johnson & johnson to deliver 20 million doses by the end of the month, which is just a week away now? thanks. andy: dr. walensky, would you like to take the first question about the kind of flattening of case rates and things that we can be doing as a country?
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dr. walensky: yeah, i'd be happy to. we are looking at these data, we're reaching out to individual states, trying to encourage them. we are having weekly governors calls. we're doing outreach with states , territories, to encourage them to look at their case data, to look at what's happening with the variants and to do as much outreach as we can to try and to slow down the relaxation. andy: yeah. and obviously, you've heard the president say, and you've heard both dr. fauci and dr. walensky say that we believe it's a mistake to get rid of mask mandates. obviously, governors have certain authority there. but so do corporations, so do employers, so do individuals. and we are making concerted efforts to make sure that people know that whether or not there's a mandate in place, it's in the people's strong interest, strong interest to continue to wear a
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mask until such time as people have had a chance to be vaccinated. on the johnson & johnson question, we're obviously working very closely with the company. we are going to see a nice increase in johnson & johnson this week. and we should have more information around the first week in april to report on how they've done. they have got a lot of increases that they need to be committed to doing. so we'll continue to keep everyone posted. next question. >> we'll go to rachel rubin at politico. reporter: thanks for taking my question. i just wanted to follow up on the last one from jeremy since april 1 is the end of next week. do you think that j&j will have that 20 million shots? can you give us an estimate of how many j&j shots are going out this week and how much states
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are seeing in their projections for next week? andy: i am not going to give you precise numbers. obviously this is a ramped up manufacturing process. we're working with them very closely. i wouldn't signal that they're going to be far away from the numbers that they have projected at all, give or take a little bit. and obviously we're holding them accountable and working closely with them. but at this point in time, i don't want to commit to what's going to happen over the course of the coming week. i would leave that to the company. next question. >> next we'll go to nancy quarters at cbs. reporter: thank you. how do you plan to deal with hesitancy surrounding the astrazeneca vaccine in particular? or do you anticipate that by the time it's in circulation, there will be so much supply of the other vaccines that it really won't matter?
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and then given dr. walensky's comments about the uptick in cases and the fork in the road that the country is facing, what is your guidance for people who have been vaccinated when it comes to going on vacation? because the tsa just reported that sunday was its busiest air travel day of the year so far. andy: okay. so let me start with dr. fauci. with our first question, just to begin with the facts, because i think the best method for talking about people's perception is to start with the actual facts. it is the reason that we do these briefings in the first race. dr. fauci, do you want to reiterate your point of view? dr fauci: yeah, the vaccine hesitancy surrounding az related to reports from the european group, that there was a greater incidence of thromboembolic events associated with the vaccine.
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during this trial here, there was no indication at all. now, remember, you're dealing with 30,000 people in a trial. the important thing to point out is that when you give vaccine to millions and millions of people, you got to make sure that when you look at the occurrence of what could appear to be an adverse event, that you essentially compare that into what the background of that type of event would be anyway in society. and the european medicines agency, the ema indicated in their examination, that they did not see an increased risk of these types of events. of note in the trial that i just reported on, they did also not see this, even though it was only in 30-plus thousand. but, as andy mentioned just a moment ago, the fda is going to very, very carefully go over all of these data.
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there will be an application for an eua. and i can tell you, you can rest assured that the fda will put a great deal of scrutiny in every aspect of these data. andy: yes. and i just very much appreciate those comments. and it's one of the reasons why it's so important people ask why does the fda take time to do their work? people also ask why do you make such a point of emphasizing the fda's independence? and do you make such an important point about emphasizing the transparency? it's because the science is going to be what the science is. the results are going to be with what the results are going to be. the american public will need to hear that directly. and it's important that they have great confidence in what comes out of our independent scientific agencies. so we're going to hold on any judgment other than what dr. fauci has indicated from these studies until we hear from the fda, and they will go through a very rigorous process.
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and after that, we will help interpret the results to the public. so there was a second question, which i think is for dr. walensky, which is, i believe commenting on travel and the uptick of travel. i think part of that question was what about the vaccinated , people that are traveling? what i saw down in miami, i t didn't look like a whole bunch of vaccinated people, but i could be wrong. but maybe you want to address that one. dr. walensky: yeah. as we've articulated before, cdc is working on updating the guidance for what you do if you are vaccinated, and that will include travel. i want to go back to what andy said, and that is much of the travel we know is related to people who are going on spring break. for the most part, people who go on spring break are not the demographic that we've been focusing in on travel. we are worried not just for what happens when you were on the airplane itself, but what happens when people travel that
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, that is, they go out, they mix. they mix with people who are not vaccinated. we currently are at a situation, if we look at our european friends, we just don't want to be at this rapid uptake of cases again. it is possible that that could happen. we were behind the eight ball when that starts to happen and that results in an uptick of cases hospitalizations, and then , deaths. so, we're so close to vaccinating so many more people. so i would just encourage people and remind people, now is not the time to travel. >> go to c-span.org/coronavirus for the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. if you miss coverage, it is easy to quickly find the latest briefings and the biden administration's response.
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go to c-span.org/coronavirus. >> on thursday, president biden holds his first official news conference since taking office. watch live coverage on c-span, online at c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. visit c-span's new online store at c-span shop.org to check out the new c-span products. with congress in session, we are taking preorders for the congressional directory. every c-span shop purchase helps support c-span's nonprofit operations. shop today. >> next, former president barack obama talks about the impact of the affordable care act 11 years after it became law. health care activists highlighted the importance of grassroots advocacy and lobbying

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