tv White House COVID-19 Team Holds Briefing CSPAN August 13, 2021 4:29am-4:59am EDT
this is half an hour. >> morning, and thank you for joining us. i will keep our comments brief this morning so we can get to your questions. i will start with an update on our fight against the delta variant. the delta variant continues to drive a rise cases with cases concentrated in communities with lower vaccination rates. in the past week, florida has had more covid cases than all 30 states with the lowest case rates combined. florida and texas alone have accounted for nearly 40% of new
hospitalizations across the country. we all know vaccinations are the best line of defense against covid and how we end this pandemic. that is why we have been tireless in our efforts to get more and more americans vaccinated. for the first time since mid june, we are averaging about a half million people getting newly vaccinated each and every day. overall in the last week, 3.3 million americans rolled up their sleeves to get their first shot. in the past month, we have doubled the average number of 12-year-olds to 17-year-olds getting new vaccinated each day. critical progress as many of attila -- millions of adolescents start heading back to school. we are seeing the mousing of the can vaccination process -- we are seeing the most significant vaccination progress in the states with highest case rates.
we tripled the average number of shots each day in arkansas and quadrupled in louisiana, alabama, and mississippi. we are getting more shots in arms in the places that need them the most. that is what it is going to take to end the pandemic -- more vaccinations, more americans doing their part and rolling up their sleeves. we have seen strong actions from across the public and private sectors to help end the pandemic. the president recently announced vaccination requirements for all 4 million federal workers, and we are working to apply similar standard to all federal contractors. on monday, the department of defense announced its plans to add covid-19 vaccines to the list of vaccines required for more than 1.7 million active-duty, reserve,
and national guard personnel. this morning, the department of veteran affairs and the department of health and human services announced new requirements. all 350,000 v.a. health care personnel and all hhs health care personnel must now be fully vaccinated. state and local governments, health care systems, businesses small and large, universities, and other institutions are also stepping up. since last week, washington state, washington, d.c., and seattle have all adopted vaccination requirements. in more than 50 health systems across the country, they have announced all staff need to be vaccinated, bringing the total to more than 200 health systems. in the past 24 hours, amtrak,
mcdonald's, nbc-universal, discovery, and capital one all announced new rules that workers must be vaccinated to return to the office. california announced all school teachers and staff in the state be required to be vaccinated or tested weekly. and the nea and aft, two of the largest unions in the country representing 5 million educators and school staff both came out in favor of school districts persimmon covid-19 vaccination policies, including requirements for teachers and staff. across the country, nearly 700 colleges and universities have announced vaccination requirements, which will cover roughly 5 million students getting ready to head back to school. clearly, vaccination requirements are gaining
momentum across the country and are already covering tens of millions of workers, educators, college and university students, and health care providers. they will help keep people and communities safe and help stop the spread of the virus. here is the bottom line. through vaccination requirements, employers have the power to help end the pandemic. as we drive progress on vaccinations, we are accelerating in our efforts to respond to outbreaks caused by delta. our covid-19 search response teams have deployed more than 500 federal personnel, including hundreds of health-care personnel in louisiana, mississippi, and arizona to provide emergency medical care. the cdc is on the ground in illinois, tennessee to help vaccination efforts.
we sent ambulances and paramedics to missouri and louisiana, and in florida, we stood up dozens of free testing sites and sent 200 ventilators to hospitals in the state. and importantly, we sent five times as many lifesaving therapeutics to states in july compared to june. i will close with this. we are doing everything we can to get people vaccinated and support state and local leaders. but as we have said, ending the pandemic requires every american doing their part. if you are unvaccinated, get your shot. it is free, convenient, it works, and it has never been more important. with that, let me hand it over to dr. walensky. dr. walensky: good afternoon.
let's begin with data. yesterday, the cdc reported 132,384 new cases of covid-19. the average represents an increase of nearly 24% from the prior seven day average. the average of admissions is about 9700, an increase of 31%. the seven-day average of daily deaths has also increased 22% from the prior seven days. we continue to see cases, hospitalizations, and deaths increase across the country, and now over 90% of counties in the united states are experiencing substantial or high transmission. as we have been saying, by far, those at highest risk remain people who have not yet been vaccinated. this week, we are taking two important steps in encouraging
and improving vaccine protection for americans. first, for pregnant people who are at higher risk of severe illness from covid-19, we are strengthening guidance and recommending that all pregnant people or people thinking about becoming pregnant get vaccinated. we have new data that reaffirms the safety of vaccines for people who are pregnant, including early in pregnancy and around the time of conception. these data build on previous evidence from safety monitoring systems that did not find any safety concerns for people and now this new data found no increase in the risk for miscarriage among people who
received an mrna covid vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. clinicians have seen the number of pregnant people infected with covid-19 rise in the last several weeks. increased circulation of the contagious delta variant, the general low uptake among pregnant people, and the increased risk of illness and pregnancy complications among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever. second, i want to take a moment to discuss what we are doing for increased protections for individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. several people who are immunocompromised may not have had an adequate immune response to just two doses of the covid vaccine. this is a very small population, estimated to be less than 3% of adults. we have been working to identify how best to provide increased protection to vulnerable people
who are disproportionately impacted by severe outcomes due to covid 19. the fda is working with pfizer and moderna to allow boosters for these vulnerable people. an additional dose could help increase protections of individuals, which is especially important as the delta variant spreads. following the decision, the cdc will hold a meeting on practices tomorrow to discuss this issue and offer expert insights and recommendations. we look forward to that discussion and to helping support this vulnerable population. at this time, only certain immunocompromised individuals may need an additional dolts -- additional dose. emerging data, including from a significant study published in the new england journal of medicine, shows that there is an enhanced antibiotic response after an additional dose of a
vaccine in some immunocompromised people. this action about ensuring that our most vulnerable, who may need an additional dose, are better protected against covid-19, but science and resulting data in the pandemic are moving rapidly. the u.s. government must turn to make the recommendations most appropriate to protect americans. we know our vaccines are safe and effective, and if you have not gotten a vaccine yet, please do so today. thank you. i will turn things over to dr. fauci. dr. fauci: thank you very much. it is very clear now that we are dealing with a global outbreak of the delta variant. i keep updating this slide. it now shows that at least 117 countries now have the delta variant since it was first detected. so let's review some aspects of delta to help put it into
the context of what we are talking about. we know the transmissibility is greater than the output variant, at least two times as great. this makes a major difference in transmissibility. the viral load is up to 1000 times greater in the nasopharynx of people with delta than alpha, which is a mechanistic reason why you have such a tremendous increase in transmissibility. in previous reviews, i had shown this slide and checked the boxes as to proof of protection. there was one glaring missing check in previous iterations of this, and that was in the j&j clinical effectiveness. next slide. i had shown you before this slide, looking at the data of
immune responses in vitro. this was the j&j vaccine study which showed durable cellular responses against delta with minimal decreases for at least eight months after immunization. next slide. we now have a study that came out recently from south africa and other african countries. it involves about 478,000 health care workers. this is real-world effectiveness against delta. 91% to 90 parts -- it has a 91% to 96% protection against delta and then 71% protection against hospitalization. remember i showed you before the durability of the immune responses up to eight months, and this is the first real world data to show the effectiveness of j&j in this challenging epidemiological setting of delta
, particularly in the context of people who may have hiv. finally, if you look at breakthrough infections, inevitable with any vaccine is no vaccine is 100% effective, as you can see, the breakthrough infections, namely infections that occur in the setting of full vaccination, were mild in 96%, severe in less than 0.05% with death in less than 0.05%. so i will stop there and hand it over. >> thank you so much, dr. fauci, and good to -- good afternoon to everyone. i want to take a moment to update you on vaccination equity as well as the importance of covid-19 therapies. when it comes to equity, it is important to note that the
majority of people getting vaccinated through the direct federal program are self identifying as people of color. so that is through community, dialysis centers, and pharmacy partners. since president biden made all adults eligible, the majority of individuals receiving vaccine have identified as people of color, so that is notable progress, but it does not change the fact that there is still more work to do. the work in this phase of the vaccination campaign remains hyper local, and that is why the biden administration will continue to work hand-in-hand with states, territories, tribes, and cities always centering partnerships with faith-based and community-based organizations, supporting that outreach work that needs to be done. i wanted to provide a couple of examples of the commitment to
engage partnership. in june and july, the administration ordered over $240 million to support community workers and community efforts, really expanding local opportunities to build vaccine confidence and access. this past week, the cdc launched the partnering for vaccine equity program. there is an investment of $120 million in grants that have been awarded. and later this week, $20 million will be distributed specifically to native hawaiian communities. in meeting people where they are, partnership is so powerful, and many of the incredible partners doing this work are health centers. this is national health center week, and on behalf of the administration, i want to say thank you. your commitment and dedication reaching underserved groups and health centers on the front line , in vaccine administration and testing, and safe, effective
therapies. as mentioned earlier, these therapies do include monoclonal antibodies. and i want to talk about those , but for people across the country, let me reiterate the best strategy to remain protected from the worst of covid-19 is to get fully vaccinated. but if you are at covid-19 and are high-risk, i want to assure you about these therapies. they help keep people out of the hospital and keep them alive. our research teams have worked with states to increase access and uptake. we have conducted training officials with more to come in alabama and elsewhere, and in arizona we have a clinical team on the ground, hoping to set up
and run two sites, and those efforts are paying off. of the covid positive patients the arizona team has treated so far, not one has required hospitalization after treatment. we can also report shipments to states with the highest rates of community transition. for example, florida increased eight-fold over the past month, and in july more than 108,003 were shipped all over the country by the federal government. this represents more than a fivefold increase from june. more than 600,000 patients across the country have received monoclonal antibody treatments with lives saved. so the administration continues to stand ready to assist states, territories, and jurisdictions across the country, to get more people to vaccination.
thank you so much, and for that i will turn it over to you. >> thank you. >> thank you, as always, for doing the briefing. we are seeing a rising number of children being infected with covid-19. i have a twofoldis there data te delta variant is more verlander in children, and given that increase, are you still confident that schools can fully reopen for further instruction, or are you expecting changes to the guidelines? >> let's start with dr. fauci. >> to answer the first part of your question, there is no doubt that there are more children getting infected. as i mentioned, the delta variant is much more highly transmissible than alpha. given that, you will see more
children and infected, and since you have a certain percentage of children, even though small, a certain percentage require hospitalization. so quantitatively, you will see more children in the hospital. regarding the severity of illness, there were a couple of studies which suggested delta was more severe in adults, causing a more relative disease. with regard to children, this could possibly be the case, but we are not seeing this in a definitive way. the only thing we know is that with more infections, more children will be in the hospital. with regard to the school, i think we will go back to dr. walensky. dr. walensky: thank you for that question. we know where we have higher rates of infection among children is where we have lower
rates of vaccination, higher rates of community transmission. we know how to keep our children safe. we know that most of the infections coming into schools are coming from high rates of disease in that community. we know how to keep our schools safe, to vaccinate everyone who can be vaccinated, vaccinate family members, because children cannot yet be vaccinated, and to follow the mitigation strategy in our school guidance, including masking. >> one thing i would add is due to the passage of the american rescue plan several months ago, all schools have the resources to implement the mitigation strategies. next question. >> josh. bloomberg. >> can you give us an update on the plans to start shipping those 500 million pfizer doses meant to come in this month? has that started, and what kind of pace we will see in the
coming weeks? thank you. >> the 500 million pfizer does -- doses that were announced in june to be donated to the world, those shipments began this -- do begin this month, and we will ship a total of 200 million by the end of this year, this calendar year, with the remaining 300 million shipped no later than the first half of 2022. so everything is on schedule. shipments are beginning in the next several days. >> next question. >> next question. cbs. >> thanks, kevin. thanks for taking my question. a quick follow-up on sabrina's. what's the latest data about children and long-haul symptoms, after they recover, even from mild cases? jeff, for you, now that more
entities are requiring vaccines, is the administration reconsidering something like a qr code or a passport to help verify people's vaccination status? and if not, what are you doing to stop the proliferation of fake vaccine cards? thank you. >> dr. walensky. >> thank you for that question. we are examining covid in children. we are seeing long covid symptoms, mostly fatigue and headache. they appear to be lower than they are in adults. 2% to 3%. data will need to be followed differently and longitudinally. more data to follow on that. >> there are a number of ways people can demonstrate their vaccination status. companies and organizations and the federal government are taking different approaches. we applaud this innovation.
there will be no federal vaccination database. as with all other vaccines, the information gets held at the state and local level. but any system that is developed in the private sector or elsewhere must meet key standards, including affordability, being available both digitally and on paper, and importantly, protecting people's privacy and security. the second part of your question, we are aware of some cases of fraud, counterfeit covid-19 cards being advertised on social media sites and e-commerce platforms. while the practice is not widespread, i will remind everyone that it's a crime. and the office of the inspector general, the department of health and human services is investigating these schemes. next question.
>> abc news. >> thanks for taking my question. i want to follow up on a question from last week about the hospitalization rates for unvaccinated versus vaccinated people. the cdc has been saying that 97% of people winding up in the hospital were unvaccinated. has that number changed with delta, and do you have better numbers on the efficacy yet, dr. walensky? >> the 97% was data from january through june. with more and more people getting vaccinated, those numbers are fluid and we are continuing to evaluate those. >> next question. let's go to kelly, inside health policy. >> thanks for taking my question. there have been reports from cdc that over a million people have already gotten unauthorized
third doses of mrna vaccine. do you know if private insurances and medicare are still covering the administration piece of the shots, even though they are not recommended currently? dr. walensky: we're doing an evaluation on that to make sure we understand and we have the capacity to track this and understand the practice. many of these are occurring in the context of people who may be severely immunocompromised and are doing so in advance of our recommendation. one thing i want to highlight in the context of this is it does undermine our ability to monitor the in these contexts. we are asking people to follow our guidance, to follow what the fda will say in the coming days.
>> next question. >> last question. let's go to michael at reuters. >> dr. fauci said this morning on an interview that he believes boosters in general are an inevitability. i was wondering how soon you expect that you might make a decision on that, and what sort of data are you looking for, to make that decision? dr. fauci: well, when i made that statement, it is a true statement that we believe sooner or later, you will need a booster for durability and protection. right now, as we mentioned, we are evaluating this, looking at a number of studies, both international and domestic studies, and as we stated many
times, at this moment, apart from the immunocompromised, which was just discussed, we do not believe others, elderly or non-elderly who are not immunocompromised need a vaccine right at this moment, but this is a dynamic process and the data will be evaluated. the one thing we are doing is we are preparing for the eventuality of doing that. if the data shows us that in fact we do need to do that, we will be very ready to do it and do it expeditiously. >> i will emphasize with what dr. fauci ended with. if and when there's a decision, we are prepared, we have the supply, and people will be able to get a booster in a fast and efficient way, if and when the science dictates. thank you. i look forward to seeing