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tv   White House Holds Coronavirus Update Briefing  CSPAN  April 17, 2021 4:02am-4:36am EDT

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emerging
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virus variants. >> good morning. thank you for joining us. today i'm joined by dr. walensky, dr. fauci, and dr. murphy to give you a thorough update on a busy week of activity fighting the pandemic across multiple fronts. you've heard our scientific and public health teams, led by dr. fauci and dr. walensky, talk in plain terms about ending the pandemic, and dealing with variants. i want to lay out our strategy to tackle these variants. when we arrived in january, we put together a 200-page plan on how to tackle every element of the pandemic, from vaccinations to inequities to school reopenings to testing. part of any plan is tackling the
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things you can't fully prepare for. but which emerge as critical threats. all roads to defeating the pandemic go through the path of successfully and quickly vaccinating the country. to date, 125 million americans have been vaccinated, and millions more each day. but even as we accelerate our efforts to get shots in arms, more dangerous variants are growing, causing increases in cases with people without immunity. this increases the urgency for you to get vaccinated, but it also requires us to intensify our efforts to quickly test for and find genetic sequence of the virus as it spreads. now, we started despite having world-class researchers and dedicated state and local public health leaders, when we arrived, the u.s. was seeing a small fragment of what other countries were. this hampered our ability to find and react to these new variants.
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what we call surveillance, our ability to spot variants as they emerge and spread, is vital. particularly as we aim to get ahead of dangerous variants before they emerge as they are in the midwest right now. today, we are announcing a $1.7 billion investment to bolster the ability of the c.d.c. and state and local public health departments to monitor, track, and defeat emerging threats. whether it's covid-19 variants today or other viruses in the future through a process known as genomic sequencing. this significant investment, which is made possible due to the american rescue plan president biden signed into law last month is critical in our fight against the new and potentially dangerous variants of covid-19. right now, these variants account for nearly half of all covid-19 cases in the united
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states. we need more capacity in our public health system to identify and track these mutations. state and local public health departments are on the front lines of beating back the pandemic, but they need more capacity to detect these variants early on before dangerous outbreaks. this funding will enable c.d.c. and states to do more genomic sequencing as we activate the nation's great research capabilities to detect variants earlier and increase our visibility into emerging threats. this investment will give public health officials the chance to react more quickly to prevent and stop the spread. today's investment also builds on the major investments in testing in genomic sequencing we made earlier this year. that includes $10 billion of american rescue plan funding to support covid-19 testing in schools and another $2.5 billion to help state and local health
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agencies in underserved high-risk communities and nearly $200 million to begin to increase genomic sequencing capacity that this investment comes on top of. we are doing a number of other things to work with individual states that are experiencing a rise in cases, providing more intensive support, get more shots in arms more quickly, more personnel to support vaccination and other public health efforts and morest itting and therapeutics. -- more testing and therapeutics. this will be a vital tool in our battle against covid-19. one further announcement. today we're announcing another federally run mass vaccination site in bessimer, alabama, that will administer 7,000 shots per week. altogether by next week, we will have opened 37 mass vaccination sites in 26 states with a combined capacity of administering a total of 125,000 shots per day.
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we're doing everything we can to put this pandemic behind us, and we stand ready to support states. before i turn it to dr. walensky, i want to reiterate the role we all have to play. we need everyone to do their part. we need all americans to take the steps we know work to stop covid-19. please, wear a mask, socially distance, and if needed, social distance and get tested as needed and also go get vaccinated. as of monday, all adult americans will be eligible. with that i'll turn it over to dr. walensky. dr. walensky: thank you. i'll give an overview of the data. yesterday, c.d.c. reported 73,622 cases of covid-19. our seven-day average is up to 69,500. nearly 70,000 new cases per day. i know case numbers may seem similar from day-to-day but just
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four weeks ago our seven-day average is only about 53,000 cases per day. in concert with the increase in cases, the seven-day average of emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and hospitalizations are all approximately 5% to 8% higher than they were in the prior seven-day period. and sadly, average daily deaths have increased for the third day in a row to over 700 per day. we must continue to get many more people vaccinated. the increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths are very concerning and they threaten the progress we already
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made. as i discussed, some of these increases are the result of the last prevention efforts in states across the country, such as relaxed mask mandates or relaxation of indoor seating. another is the increase in transmissible variants. it makes the race to stop the transmission even more challenging and threatens to overwhelm our health care system again in parts of this country. c.d.c. data show that the b-177 variant, the variant originally identified in the united kingdom represents 44% of the virus circulating during the week of march 27. since that time it's higher and we are expected to have new data soon. the emergence of variants underscore the critical need for rapid and ongoing genomic surveillance. c.d.c. has been acting on
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multiple fronts to increase our sequencing efforts in the united states to detect variants of the virus that cause covid-19. and we began receiving sequence data from seven additional commercial lab are aers to. as andy just announced, the administration is investing $1.7 billion from the american rescue plan in an effort to more effectively track emerging and circulating variants across the country and to better prepare the country for the next pandemic. this includes surveillance of break-through infections as well as more and more -- as more and more people get vaccinated. with this critical and substantial investment, c.d.c. will fund the equipment, supply, training, staffing, electronic infrastructure, partnerships, and innovative -- innovation needed to build a robust national genomic sequencing effort. in addition, $300 million will establish six centers of excellence in genomic ep
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deepology. these -- epidemiology. these will act as partnerships between state health departments and academic institutions, and today's funding will fuel cutting edge research into genomic epidemiology. in this work, we'll build our public health capacity to respond, not just to covid-19, but to future concerning emerging threats to public health. yesterday, i testified before a congressional subcommittee where i shared my commitment to working with the biden administration and congress to address long standing vulnerabilities in core public health infrastructure that presents challenges in the nation's ongoing effort to successfully tackle covid-19. today's announcement and this investment substantially contribute toward that commitment. finally, i want to comment on our ongoing surveillance of the safety with the johnson & johnson vaccine we discussed on wednesday. after the press briefing on wednesday, the advisory committee on immunization
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practices, or acfp, met to discuss the six cases and provide recommendations. i want to thank them for their thoughtful discussion and commitment to the science. the recommendation from this group of independent experts for a continued pause will allow additional time to review any additional cases that might come in and for them to conduct a complete risk assessment and to evaluate the emerging science. acip will meet again this friday, april 23, from 11:00 until 5:00 to provide further recommendations. importantly, the vaccine produced by moderna and pfizer are still widely available and we continue to work with pharmacies, states, and fema to make sure the vaccine supply remains robust across the country as we approach april 19 when all americans above age 16 or 18, depending on the vaccine received, will be eligible for vaccination. if you have not been vaccinated,
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i want to encourage you to do so with one of the available vaccines as soon as you can. widespread vaccination is the only way we will ultimately move past this pandemic. thank you. i'll now turn things over to dr. fauci. dr. fauci: thank you very much, dr. walensky. i'd like to take this opportunity now to call your attention -- can i have the first slide -- to the first soon-to-be first year anniversary of the n.i.h. sponsored coronavirus disease 2019 treatment guidelines panel. next side. this is a panel of individuals, co-chaired by dr. cliff lane, who is my deputy director of n.i. -- niad, and the director of the critical care medicine unit at n.i.h. and roy, who is
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the chief of infection diseases at cornell medicine in new york city. as you can see from this group, the members, some of you may recognize, are people who are in the trenches every day taking care of people with covid-19. this panel was established to be able to work, literally, in real time updating guidelines for clinicians and health care providers throughout the country and the world on the latest information. and since information comes out, not only in published work, but also the results that are prepublications of clinical trials as well as expert opinion -- next slide -- this is a list of the organizations that are represented on the panel by the people that you saw in the previous slide.
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next slide. as i mentioned, the anniversary is next week on the 21st of april. since we began one year ago, there have been close to four million users in the united states, about 2,600,000 which are international. so we are serving as a resource for clinicians throughout the world. again, since the beginning, there have been over 14 million page views, and there have been 23 separate updates to the treatment guidelines. next slide. this is an important slide. for those not used to looking at guidelines, there's varying degrees of strength of recommendation, and what the evidence for that recommendation is. as you see on the left, there is, a, a strong recommendation for a statement. b, moderate.
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c, optional. on the right, it depends on what you're basing this recommendation. if you get a 1, that means there's one or more randomized trials without major limitations. 2-a, are randomized trials or subgroups. 2-b is nonrandomized trials. 3, you don't have a trial but an expert opinion. so obviously 1 and a-1 is based on good data. you'll see others, depending upon what the evidence has been. next slide. so let me just then show you an example. on april 8, eight days ago, there was an update on the recommendation of the use of anti-sars-cov-2 monoclonal
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antibodies. there was recommendations to treat out patients, again, underscoring patients, with mild to moderate covid-19, at a high risk of clinical progression as defined by the emergency use authorization criteria. and these are the combinations listed there. bamlanivimab and etesevimab, and casirivimab. it should be started as soon as possible after treatment should -- positive result on covid-19 antigen or nucleic acid amplification test and within 10 days of symptom onset. because there is susceptibility of variants, they recommend
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against the use of bamlanivimab monotherapy. the panel recommends against the use of these antibodies in people who hospitalized except if it's in a clinical trial. however, their use should be considered for persons with mild or moderate covid-19 who are hospitalized for a reason other than the underlying covid-19 disease but who otherwise meet the criteria. the last side, we often get asked -- if i have a patient coming into the office who i think i might want to give a monoclonal antibody to, how do i find out to get that? contact the monoclonal antibodies call center at that number there and at that website. i'll stomach it there and give it to dr. murphy.
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dr. murphy: thank you. today i'd like to speak with you about three topics related to the national covid-19 vaccination effort. first, american indian and alaskan native people are at higher risk of covid-19. we know they faced more limited access to health care and great disparities in health. according to a recent c.d.c. report, american indians and alaskan natives are 3.5 times more likely to get covid than non-hispanic white population. native people are also more than four times likely to be hospitalized as a result of covid-19. despite these, we administered one million doses of covid-19 vaccines. that's a remarkable achievement and testament to their dedication. today, the biden administration is doubling down on this critical work with a $4 billion investment from the american rescue plan to the indian health
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service, tribal, and urban indian health programs. specifically, these funds will support the following -- expanded covid-19 vaccination. including mobile efforts, large scale vaccination events and public education and outreach campaigns. expanded testing, contact racing, p.p.e. access, and treatment. increased preventive health services for those at higher risk for covid-19. and increase support for telehealth, the health care workforce, and the broader indian health care system, which has been hard hit during the pandemic due to loss of reimbursements for care in both public and private insurance. we are trying to ensure equity. and today's funding announcement is part of a broader commitment to increase access to vaccines and redice the -- reduce the spread of doifd in hard-hate -- covid-19 in hard-hit communities. i want to talk about something
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that isn't so obvious and that's the following -- increasing access to vaccines is critical for increasing confidence in vaccines. and here's why. the more people see those around them get vaccinated, particularly family and friends, the more comfortable they become with getting vaccinated themselves. so the easier we make it to get vaccinated, the more people will get vaccinated. and that means more people around them will feel comfortable getting the vaccine themselves. that's why access and confidence go hand in hand. and so safety, which brings me to the second topic. this week you heard a lot from us about the pause with administering the johnson & johnson covid-19 vaccine. the decision was never simple. it was taken after the careful assessment of risks and benefits of calling such a pause. the actions taken by c.d.c. and the f.d.a. this week should give americans confidence that our safety system is working for them.
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for some members of the public, uncertainty about getting vaccinated stems from questions about how safe the vaccines are. and this week is a reminder that safety is our top priority. even when an extremely rare safety event occurs, our scientific agencies will act with thoroughness and transparency so people can remain confident in the vaccines recommended to them. and as such attention the j&j news have received, what i'm most concerned about, the numbers the most on my mind, are the rising cases and hospitalization among those who are not vaccinated. over the past year, the virus keeps reminding us that the risks of actually getting covid are quite significant. it cost us more than 500,000 friends and family members and has led to hospitalizations and prolonged symptoms for many, many more. we all want the same thing. which is turn this pandemic around and protect ourselves and our loved ones. to that end, our best path forward remains getting
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vaccinated and continuing to take the prevention measures that we know work. wearing a mask, washing our hands, and avoiding indoor gatherings with people outside of our household. we're really fortunate to have highly effective vaccines and a system that's working day and night to keep us safe. that gives me faith that we will make it through this pandemic together. thank you so much. and we'll look forward to your questions. andy: all right. thank you. i think we have time for a few questions. >> we only have a few minutes for questions today so please, please, keep your questions to one question. first we'll go to cbs. reporter: hi here. thanks for taking my question. can you lay out what it [indiscernible] the administration has done -- [indiscernible] pfizer and moderna vaccines and did the trial include a booster shot so people know what to expect
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medically if they have to get one? thank you. andy: i have to ask you to repeat that because you cut out in the middle. reporter: sure. i'm just looking for specifics about what the administration has done or is doing to acquire enough booster shots for people in the case that they need them for the pfizer and moderna vaccines and whether the booster was part of the trials so people know what to expect medically if they get one in terms of side effects. thanks. andy: got it. i'll take the first half of that. then in terms of side effects or anything like that, i turn to dr. fauci for that. so look, we often get accused of being hyperfocused on preparing for multiple scenarios. we talk about that here a lot. requiring additional shots in
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the future is obviously a foreseeable potential event. i want to emphasize while there is certainly speculation about this, that is far from saying that's what's going to happen. i would, again, invite dr. fauci to comment on that. but i can assure you when we do our planning, when we do -- the president orders purchases of additional vaccines, as he's done, and when we focus on all the production expansion opportunities that we talk about in here, we very much have scenarios like that in mind as well as obviously vaccinating our teens and our children. so very, very important for all of us. dr. fauci, would you -- what would you add to that? dr. fauci: yeah, regarding the clinical trials. in fact, ongoing already are clinical trials looking at a boost of the original wiped type virus vaccine as well as a boost with a variant-specific. in this case, the variant is
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351. the problematic one from south africa. so in direct answer to your question, there are already clinical trials looking at both the safety of it, obviously, but as well as whether or not a boost of wild type versus a boost of variant-specific increases the ability of the -- ability to neutralize both the wild type and the variant. andy: thank you, dr. fauci. next question. >> kathryn of "vanity fair." reporter: thank you for taking my question. what i'd like to hear you all discuss is, if we are able to -- and it looks like we're right on track to do it -- vaccinate a solid majority of the country, what happens to the public health picture here if and when
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a large majority of the rest of the world remains unvaccinated? how will that impact the public health situation here at home or put pressure on us medically? andy: so dr. fauci, do you want to start with that, and dr. walensky, dr. murthy, you can add if you have additional pieces? dr. fauci: sure. as we said very often on this call that a pandemic that is a global pandemic requires a global response. and even if we get good control in our country, which we feel that we will be confident that we will, the fact is as long as there's active dynamics of infection somewhere in the world, there always is somewhat of a threat that variants will emerge in those parts of the world and because we're such an interconnected planet here, that it might actually be an issue
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that we will have to deal with as a challenge of keeping an eye on the possibility that variants will arise, that we will have to make adjustments to from the standpoint of vaccines as well as maintaining a certain degree of public health guideline control from a public health standpoint. i'll be happy to hear from dr. walensky if you have any comments from that, rochelle. dr. walensky: yeah. i think we have the responsibility to vaccinate the rest of the world from a humanitarian standpoint to a global health standpoint to ensure we don't have further variants that threaten the rest of the world and the united states. c.d.c. has partnerships across the globe to having a key role in providing technical assistance and support to make that happen. andy: obviously a key part of the biden administration to both vaccinate our own country but also the leadership role we are
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taking in the world. i think we have time for one more question. >> caitlyn collins at cnn. reporter: thanks so much. my question is on the j&j vaccine. since you just announced that the vaccine advisors to the c.d.c. are going to meet again next friday. that mean this pause is lasting more than a week. aren't you concern the longer this pause lasts, the more damage it does to the reputation of the j&j vaccine and people's willingness to get it? andy: dr. walensky. dr. walensky: thank you for that question, caitlyn. this meeting that we have with acip this week, the independent panel suggested they needed more data, they needed time to look at both the risk and that risk-benefit analysis that has been -- that c.d.c. is actively conducting as well as to see if
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any further cases come in. we will meet next friday. we recognize the critical importance of moving quickly. that's why we all have two scheduled acip meetings in a 14-day period. we are moving. what i would say to the american people is that what we found is really extremely rare cases through our vaccine safety monitoring system, and that we are transparently -- this meeting on friday will be public. people can dial in. we are transparently conveying that science. we've reached out to over 10,000 providers to sort of -- to ensure they know what kinds of cases to look for and to do that outreach. and we want to convey to the american public we have two vaccines that are readily available, the pfizer and moderna, and people should continue to roll up their sleeves to get vaccinated.
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andy: dr. murthy, you made the point about the safety priority. do you want to reiterate some of your points? dr. murthy: events like this happens, when we take these kind of measures, we recognize for some people it will raise questions. we want to answer those questions. that's why what you've seen over the last few days is a really concerted effort, not only to do the safety investigation but to communicate openly and transparently with people about what's going on. and that's why in addition to the calls that dr. walensky mentioned, with tens of thousands of health care provesals -- professionals, we convened with faith organizations, sports organizations, community-based organizations. we've also, you know, as you probably noted, had administration officials and others out in the media to speak
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to people, the national, regional, local press, as many chances to communicate with people. we will do that because we want people to know what we know. finally, let me say this. our message has been consistent, which is that, number one, this is -- this pause is about the johnson & johnson vaccine. if people have appointments to get the pfizer or moderna vaccine, we want them to keep those appointments. we have great faith in the effectiveness of those vaccines and they have very strong safety profiles. second, even if you received the johnson & johnson vaccine, the vast and overwhelming likelihood is you will be just fine. i know that people have questions about this given the cases they heard about this. keep in mind that more than seven million people received the johnson & johnson vaccine. we feel quite confident that the vast majority will be fine. and third, just remember, this is your system safety -- safety system working for you what you're seeing right now. a signal came out. the f.d.a. and c.d.c. jumped on it immediately.
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and decided to investigate thoroughly. and that's what's happening. and that, if anything, i believe, should increase people's confidence that they're being told what's going on and that any signal is being investigated. we want people to have confidence that the vaccines we're recommending are safe and effective and this is how we do that. andy: caitlyn, i think this is the purpose of having the top clinical leaders in the country talking directly to you and to the public. the demonstration of incredibly rare events, we also have to face the fact that we lost 560,000 americans and that vaccines save lives. 125 million americans have gone and gotten vaccinated, and the results, as we can see, are quite incredible. we hope americans see that in giving them the straight facts, we trust them to do the homework, make the decision to get vaccinated, and it's the right decision for them and their families. so with that, i think we're
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going possible 2024 presidential candidate.

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