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tv   White House COVID-19 Task Force Holds Briefing  CSPAN  March 24, 2021 1:33pm-2:06pm EDT

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america's cable television companies in 1979. today, we are brought to buy these television companies who provide c-span to viewers as a public service. >> a hearing on sexual assault at the military with the senate armed services subcommittee weirs from survivors of sexual assault and survivor advocates. watch live beginning at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span online at or listen with the free c-span radio app. and now today's white house coronavirus briefing, this is about half an hour.
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>> the total of 84 million people have received at least one dose and many -- and one in six adults have received the full vaccine. today we cross a milestone. 70% of americans age 65 and over have now received at least one shot. this is a long way from seven weeks ago when only 8% of seniors had received a single shot. as a reminder, 80% of deaths in the u.s. have occurred among seniors. to put it another way, no country has vaccinated more people than the u.s. the result is a three-pronged strategy to get supply to get thousands of vaccinators and thousands more places for people to get vaccinated.
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i also want to briefly touch on the upcoming vaccine supply which we are closely tracking as are all of you. yesterday, in our weekly call with governors, we announced we will have 27 million doses allocated across all distribution channels this week. two thirds of the 27 million doses will be going to states and jurisdictions for them to distribute at distributional sites and the rest will go to primarily the pharmacy program. this means that in the 62 days since taking office, we have more than tripled vaccine output from 8.6 million doses to 27 million doses per week. we have more work to do. grinding out these increases week after week takes tremendous effort and partnership with the
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vaccine manufacturers, hhs team and of course all the people across the country vaccinating americans. we intend to keep of this progress until all americans are vaccinated. before i turn it over to dr. wolinsky, i want to call attention to an upward announcement related to schools. today, and the department of education's national safe reopening summit, president biden will announce and $81 billion in american rescue plan funds made available to all 50 states, d.c. and puerto rico to support their efforts to safely return to in person instruction as expeditiously as possible this spring and meet the needs of all students.
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this will return students to schools quicker. with that, i will turn it over to dr. walensky. >> thank you andy, i am glad to be back with all of you today. let's start with an overview of the pandemic. on monday, cases continued to increase slightly, the most recent seven day averages nearly 55,000 per day, up about 3% from the prior seven day average. the most recent seven day average of new hospitalizations is about 4600 per day and is similar to the data from monday. the latest seven day average of deaths, approximately 958 per day has also remained flat. i continue to be worried about the latest data and the apparent
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stall we are seeing in the trajectory of the pandemic. the cdc is watching these numbers closely. as i said monday, the decisions we make now will determine what the pandemic looks like in the days and weeks ahead. we have made such extort and reap progress in the last several weeks and if we choose to invest in prevention right now, we will ultimately come out of this pandemic faster and with fewer lives lost. i've been so impressed by the pace of vaccinations. so many americans have embraced vaccinations and have chipped in with their families and communities to help others get vaccinated. 15-20,000,000 people per week. this means we are closer to resuming activities we love to do with those we care about the most. this past year has been challenging with many of us experiencing so much loss in so many forms. our daily lives have changed and
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we have had to learn new tasks like juggling jobs, childcare and virtual learning. numerous studies have found that the pandemic has had a profound effect on her mental well-being. stress, uncertainty, fear, isolation all can take and have taken a substantial toll. while we focus on actions to stop the spread of covid-19, i want to remind you all that it is equally important we raise up actions to help each other maintained wellness, well-being and resilience. this applies to everyone whether you are already vaccinated or waiting. please take care of yourself. if you have gotten out of your routines this past year, try to get back to those things that make you feel better give you meaning and help you feel connected even if virtually. connect with people, take a walk, connect with a friend,
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connect or check in with a neighbor. while you make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating balanced and healthy meals and get regular exercise. doing the simple actions can make such a difference in how we feel and how we respond to stress. take breaks from the news and social media. it's good to be informed but hearing about the pandemic all day every day can be upsetting. considering limiting the news to a couple of times a day and disconnecting for a while. we have other tips for improving well-being while staying covid-19 safe on our cdc website which i invite you all to look at. of course, do get vaccinated when it's available. doing so opens up even more opportunities to interact safely in person with others. i continue to hear of so many uplifting stories about friends and family being able to
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reconnect after months or even a year apart step once they are fully vaccinated. this is what we are all fighting for like meeting your new grandchild for the first time, hugging a friend or having dinner with another family, we will get there, we are getting there at roughly 2.5 million vaccinations per day. we are getting new evidence about the positive effect of these vaccines every single day. as i mentioned monday, we now see significant declines in emergency department visits among people over 65 is that age group is gotten vaccinated. just yesterday, several studies were released from the journal of medicine describing substantial real-world protection against covid-19 among vaccinated health care workers who we know are at increased risk of exposure to the virus. these findings should be a jolt to the hope for all of us and serve as a catalyst for everyone to roll up their sleeves when the vaccine is available.
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as i said many times before, getting schools open for in person instruction safely and as quickly as possible is a top priority for cdc and we are starting to see results. i'm excited to report that we have heard from a number of school districts since updated guidance was released last week that they are in now able to move forward with broader reopening as the result of her updated recommendations on physical distancing. at the same time, we've been working hard with our federal retail pharmacy program to vaccinate k-12 teachers and childcare workers throughout the month of march. our pharmacy partners now report they have vaccinated more than 1.3 million educators, staff and childcare workers, about 566,000 of those were just in the last week. this is substantial progress but our goals is getting the teachers and staff vaccinated by the end of march. if you haven't already been
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vaccinated, visit to learn how to make an appointment for the pharmacy program. i want to share how excited i am enjoying the president, vice president, along with many students, teachers and staff at the department of education's national safe reopening summit this afternoon. during the summit, we will continually important dialogue of school reopening and hear first-hand experience from school administrators, teachers, staff and students about how they have been able to successfully get back to in person learning. i look forward to learning from the participants and engaging with her educational partners in a critical work. thank you and i will turn things over to dr. fauci. >> thank you very much. i would like to spend a couple of minutes now talking about something i introduced at a prior briefing and that is the ultimate effectiveness of the
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vaccines that are being administered. as i mentioned previously, we now have threeeu vaccinesa that have shown a high degree of efficacy in randomized placebo controlled trials. right now, as the weeks go by, we see more and more and not only are these vac is -- vaccines efficacious but in the community, they are extremely effective in preventing infection with sarsc what i will do is present very brieflyo, new data on the effectivenessvi-2.a vaccination that health care workers in reports that came out yesterday online in the new england journal of medicine. in this particular study health care workers and employees at the university of texas southwestern medical center in
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dallas, if you look at this graph, it is really quite impressive. what it looks at is people who are not vaccinated and which infection was seen in 234 of over 8000 employees. going from left to right on the next bar, for individuals who are partially vaccinated, 112 of 6000. but look at the far right of the graph, for those who are fully vaccinated, the infection rate was extremely low, 0.05% infection rate among fully vaccinated employees. that is proof positive of the importance of vaccination. the next study was a study from california in health care workers that showed among 15,000 workers who received their second dose of vaccine who were showing that infection was extremely rare, similar to the
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dallas study with a zero point 17% -- with a 0.17% positivity. finally, on data we get from israel which health care workers were vaccinated, it was shown that even among a situation where the v11 variate was noted in9 up to 80% of cases, there is a major reduction in new cases among individuals who have received two doses. as andy said, 70% of americans 65 years of age or older, have received at least one dose. has dr. walensky said, every day, 3 million people get vaccinated. so every day, we get closer and closer to that extraordinary degree of effectiveness which we are seeing at the community level. at the end of the day, that is what it is that will end this
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pandemic in this country. back to you. >> thank you, dr. fauci and dr. walensky. let's take some questions. >> first we go to cnbc. >> thank you so much. could you address what happened yesterday with the astrazeneca vaccine and the communication from the safety monitoring board? dr. fauci talked about it but if you can provide more clarity, it seems from the reporting that the efficacy was closer to 74% which is not that different from the 79% that astrazeneca released. can you provide any more clarity? for dr. walensky, how is this cdc looking at bb%126.
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the new york city health commissioner city things it's more transmissible. how are you looking at that and whether you might characterize it as an area of concern rather than interest and is the federal government looking at pushing vaccines to those areas that are seeing more spread because of variants. >> as i had explained multiple times yesterday but i will very briefly summarize again now -- what happened was that the company was dealing back-and-forth with the data and safety monitoring board regarding the efficacy point of their study. they then came out with a press release and briefed us at the nih and others regarding the efficacy of the vaccine. when they came out with their press release, very soon thereafter, they received from the data and safety monitoring board with a copy to me and
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others that the data and safety monitoring board was quite concerned that the data that was reflected in the press release was not the most recent updated data that was more accurately reflected of what the vaccine efficacy point was. since the federal government and the nih had put out a press release that reflected almost exactly what theaz had done, we put out a brief release which said we strongly urged that a get backz to the data and safety monitoring board to make sure the data that is made public is accurately reflecting what the actual data was. that is the entire story. right now, az data and safety monitoring board and will likely, with a modified statement.
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>> b1526 we are following this very, carefully in new york and new jersey. we are following the frequency of it and it suggests an increase in transmissibility. it's not as transmissible as the b117. whether these are areas of concern. >> to your first question, our take away is the importance of transparency and trust. what we do in these briefings is dr. ouchi clearly helps interment scientific information for the public. let's not mistake that for the
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process that people who have connected clinical trials, before they are approved, and deemed ready for the public, that will go through the food and drug administration. that's always been the case. we never look at the numbers in a press release to make that termination. it's a more in-depth submission. dr. fauci has always helped interpret the results when that happens. i would urge is not to focus on the process of the last couple of days but instead focus on what really matters which is what happens when these applications for these candidates are submitted to the fda stop next question. >> we will go to jeff mason at reuters. [no audio]
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>> all right, jeff we will come back to you. we will go to ricardo at the ap. [no audio] >> this is jeff, i am back now. >> we can hear you. >> apologies for that. my question was to follow up with dr. fauci on concerns about hesitancy in regards to the astrazeneca vaccine once it's available in the u.s. and secondly for all of you, if you can broadly say what you expect the pace of vaccinations to be in april if it's at 20 million per day right now. >> thank you for that question. we are always concerned when there is an apparent miscommunication, if you want to use that word, that that would
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add to an already existing level of vaccine hesitancy. that's the reason we want to make sure we are always completely transparent and everything that goes on with their messaging indexing. when you look at the data, this will turn out to be a good vaccine. the final determination of the analysis of the data will be done by the fda. when that is done, that will be very transparent as they meet with theirverp their advisory committee. ac, the end of the day, everything will be open and transparent and hopefully that will dispel any hesitancy associated with is the unpin the road that we happen to have most recently with az. >> second question on what to expect in april, last week,
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president biden said over the course of this week, we would make a commitment as to what our goal is for the upcoming period of time so we will let the president do that and that should give you the information you need. next question? >> let's go back to ricardo at ap. >> can you hear me now? can you hear me? >> yes. >> thank you for taking my question. as i listen to you, it is hard to miss the sense of excitement in your voices as you rattle off the statistics and the change implied by those is to six -- by those statistics. i noted this even with dr. was
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normally guarded. would you say we are at a point where we have reached the long-awaited turning the corner on the pandemic? that's for dr. walensky and dr. fauci. >> thank you for the question, ricardo. yes, i am normally guarded and i remain guarded. i am enthusiastic about the pace of vaccination that is happening and the early data we are seeing, the changes in infection rates, the changes in emergency department rates. what worries me is that while we have about 24% of the population have received one dose and 13% of the population that is fully vaccinated, is the footage of what's happening with spring breakers and people were not continuing to implement invention strategy while we get
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fully scaled up. we are at 13% and we need to be much higher than that to feel like we have adequate protection around the country. the early data are encouraging and that's why i emphasize how we need to hang in there for just a little while longer because we can see a time in the next couple of months where we will have a lot more people vaccinated and we will really be able to ramp up infection rates. we still have 55,000 cases per day. we are watching the people vacationing now and that could ramp up a lot. >> two underscore what dr. walensky said, when i'm asked if we are turning the corner, my response is more like we are at the corner whether or not we will be turning that corner still remains to be seen depending upon what dr. walensky said. we have a lot of challenges in
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front of us with regard to the high level of daily infections, yesterday being 54,000. when you are at that level, i don't think you can declare victory and say you have turned the corner. got to continue to do what we are doing, more vaccinations and continue to do public health measures until we actually do turn the corner. >> it was clear in your presentation and slides, dr. fauci. these vaccines are being proven to work. i think that's an extraordinarily positive statement and a path out in the midst of continued and challenging information. i don't know if you want to reiterate that perspective. >> the graph i showed really speaks for itself. if you look at the level of infection in individuals who were doubly vaccinated, it was
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0.05%. that's extremely low. that's where we want to be. as a country, when we are at that level, we will have turned the corner. >> next question, please. >> next we will go to racquel at tv brazil. >> thank you so much. can you hear me? >> yes. >> i have a question about the vaccinations and another one for dr. fauci. the world warned this week that the gap between vaccines and the arms of people in rich countries and the number of vaccines through covax and there is a full sense of security in rich countries. [indiscernible] do you think the lack of vaccines in these poor countries will make the pandemic last
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longer? do you believe the administration should let the astrazeneca be used here without approval? if you believe giving help to brazil to avoid a spill over other places? >> do you want to answer the first question i will answer the second, andy? >> i don't know exactly how to parse it. the first question was with regard to the supply in rich countries versus in more developing countries? is that the question? let me start with this. the president has stated his number one priority is to make sure we prioritize the vaccination in this country. we have suffered over 540,000 deaths, more than anywhere else in the world.
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he came into the office with a seriousness of purpose to make sure we make this country safe again. we have procured the vaccine supply, the vaccination sites, increase the number of vaccinators. at the same time which dr. fauci will go into, we must return to global leadership and as your question correctly points out until we deal with this pandemic across the globe we will not be successful in dealing with it. our work with covax to make the leading and first investment and get that moving quickly, dr. fauci on the first day attending the world health organization's meeting, our announcement we are moving vaccines in this hemisphere to mexico and canada. our work to develop long-term manufacturing capacity around the world, these are active and ongoing. before i turn it over to dr.
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fauci i would say we are in fact concerned with this situation in brazil. we are having conversations with the folks in brazil on a regular basis, a daily basis, about what is going on. i will not give more details other than we are deeply engaged. let me turn it over to dr. fauci. >> thank you, andy. we will be meeting with brazilian authorities and we are quite concerned about the difficult situation in brazil. we will be discussing ways we might be able to be helpful to brazil. i cannot go over to the details. i would like to see what their presentation is and how we might be able to help them. as andy said, we are taking a very active role in covax. we have a $4 billion. pledge we are doing. we are back in global leadership and after we take care of the
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difficult situation we have had in our own country we will in the future have surplus vaccine and this is a consideration for making that available to countries that need it. >> next question please. >> last question will go to detroit free press. >> thank you for taking my question. in michigan we are seeing a big increase in covid-19 outbreaks in k-12 schools. while teachers have been able to get vaccinated the kids have not. with the b.1.1.7 variant circulating through schools what is the benefit to having them open when they should close a few weeks later? how should states manage outbreaks with variant cases circulating? is the three foot spacing rule
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in school districts and states where we have heavy variant spread a good idea? thank you. >> dr. walensky? >> i think our guidance that was put out early in february and updated last week has a layered mitigation approach and approach by different ranges of transmission. areas with high transmission, we are limiting in person attendance in middle schools and high schools because of increased transmission for older students. we believe the science suggests that three feet versus six feet is possible and safe. all of the layered mitigation strategies we have are in place. 100% masking should be safe in all schools as long as you are talking about the younger children. yes, we need to watch the
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spread. we do not want schools to open and then reclose. the whole point is to keep schools open in the context of all mitigation we put forward. >> great. thank you for attending today and for your questions. we will be back with another briefing on friday. announcer: on thursday president biden holds his first official news conference since taking office. watch live coverage beginning at 1:15 p.m. eastern on c-span, all night at, or on the free c-span radio app. ♪ announcer: c-span is your unfiltered view of government. created by america's cable television companies in 1979. today we are brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span as a public service. ♪ announcer: today a hearing on
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sexual assault in the military. the senate armed services subcommittee hears from survivors and survivor advocates. watch live beginning at 2:30 eastern on c-span, online at, or with the free c-span radio app. we are joined by molly reynolds with the brookings institution. we will look this morning at the current issue of the filibuster, the historical and current issue because of potential legislating -- potential legislation. guest: it is good to be here. host: let's start with the historical context. the filibuster is not in the constitution, right? how did it come about? guest: you are right, it is not divided for in the constitution. we get the filibuster as it is used today starting with a quirk of history.


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