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tv   White House COVID-19 Response Team Holds Briefing  CSPAN  January 26, 2022 11:03am-11:40am EST

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laureate -- baccelaureate program. we can start tracking them by other programs when they are very young. you have different sectors in society in which students are tracked at a very young age. as young as four or five years old, they start tracking students in curriculum programs. host: you may have put your finger on something: how do we do a better job of that, of identifying across all levels and types and kids of different income levels, those kids who are showing potential and track those kids in addition to other kids, to boosting their ability?
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caller: the problem with the school system, it is like a maze. you have to have >> first i will provide a brief operational update. there more tools widely available for the american people than ever before. vaccines and was her sense. convenient test options. free high-quality masks. effective treatments. we remain laser focused on deploying these tools to protect people to keep businesses open. vaccines remain our single most powerful tool. just this week, we had an important milestone. 70% of eligible seniors, those
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most at risk invulnerable, have gotten their booster shot. half of all eligible adults are not boosted. this is significant progress rate doctors and data have made crystal clear that vaccination and boosters provide the best protection, so we keep driving more progress with millions of shots going into arms, each week. in addition to driving vaccination progress at home, the united states continues to lead the effort to help vaccinate the world. president biden's directions see that we donate vaccine doses. the largest commitment in the world. today, we will hit a major milestone in our efforts. 400 million vaccine doses will ship to 112 countries.
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they will ship for free with no strings attached. to put this in perspective, we have shipped four times more free doses to the world than any other country. our tools are working. even in the face of a highly transmissible variant. we continue to move towards a time where covid will not disrupt our daily lives, and covid is not a crisis, but rather something we protect against entry. with that, i will turn it over to dr. walensky. >> good morning. i would like to walk you through today's data. the current average of cases is about 692,400 cases per day. i decrease from the previous week. the seven day average of admissions is about 19,800. that is a decrease of about 8%
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of the prior week. the seven day average is about 2200 per day. that is about 21%. yesterday, they released a new report that details the severity of omicron in comparison to other variants. similar to prior reports, this data demonstrates that covid-19 has a severity that is slower, with the omicron variant. not with higher variance. you can see the relative rates of cases, shown in purple, with hospital admissions shown in orange. covid-19 related deaths are shown in blue. this compares the outcomes during the three periods of high covid-19 transmission. the peak, last winter, shown in the green section, with vaccination rates low, and cases and hospitalizations being high. the peaks of the summer months
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are when the delta variant was dominant. it is in yellow, shaded area. nearly 50% of the country has been vaccinated with the series. the third shaded section in orange represents the past months when cases dramatically increased due to the omicron variant. right now, we are at 54% of the country receiving primary series. 50% of eligible people, overeating, or boosted. when you look at the delta. from last winter, as cases increase, hospitalizations and deaths increased in a similar pattern. strikingly, when we compare the past month, when omicron was the predominant variant, we can see a clear separation between cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. while cases have dramatically increased and are five times higher than they were during the delta wave, hospitalizations have not increased at the same rate. deaths remain low in comparison
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to the case count. when looking across these periods, with high transmissions in the pandemic, you can see that while the number of hospitalizations is higher than we have ever previously seen, the ratio of hospitalizations to cases remains lower than prior peaks. when we look at other disease severity indicators, measurement people who are hospitalized with covid-19, such as hospital length of stay, icu admissions, and that, it is lower with omicron thin during previous periods of high transmissions did this is likely attributable to two key factors. first, many people in our country have some level of immunity from vaccination and boosters, or from previous infections. second, it is likely that omicron is less severe than prior variance. although it is encouraging the omicron appears to be causing
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less severe disease, it is important to remember that we are still facing a high overall burden of disease. hospitalizations have rapidly increased in a short amount of time, and has put a strain on many local hospitals. milder does not mean mild. we cannot look past the strain on our health system and substantial number of deaths. nearly 2200 today, as a result of extremely transmittable omicron variant. please remember vaccinations and boosters. last week, i highlighted three publications that subscribe effectiveness of booster doses in protecting against the omicron variant. it is of critical importance that people remain up-to-date with the cdc recommended covid-19 vaccination. it is vital that we all remaining vigilant in the face of this virus. many are tired.
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but many of our hospitals are still struggling beyond capacity. it has been a long two years. however, please do your part to lean into the current moment. now is the time to do what we know works. wear a mask. get vaccinated. get boosted. thank you. i will turn it over to dr. fauci. dr. fauci: i would like to spend the next few minutes talking about our plans for the future and our current activities under the development of the universal vaccine. a little bit over a month ago, my colleagues and i wrote a perspective in the journal of medicine, talking about the urgent need of a coronavirus vaccine. the reason we did this perspective was to bring to the attention of the public, the fact that in reality, over the past 20 years since 2002, we have had three coronaviruses in outbreak.
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and we are currently experiencing that. however, since september 2020, there have been five covid to variants of concern. alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and omicron. innovative approaches are needed to produce more durable protection against coronaviruses that are known and some that are at this point unknown. hence, the terminology, pandemic vaccine. this is somewhat of a complicated issue. this is what we call a genetic tree of the coronavirus. if you look at the center of the circle, that is the original source. like a tree, has many branches. as you can see, there are many different types of coronaviruses. those with humans are in red font. if you look at the alpha coronavirus, they are, with yellow, it is really part of the common cold coronavirus that we each get infected with, usually
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in the winter months. but if you look at the beta, you see the three that are causing pandemic threats. let's put a circle on the covid to where we are. we have five different variants. alpha, beta, gamma, and more that have impacted us here. also, if you go to the next slide, you can see that there is a good relationship. that is between one and two. they are what we call viruses. they are a subset of the beta coronavirus. the reason i say this is that looking at the entirety of the coronavirus genetic tree, it would be unreasonable to think we are going to get a pan coronavirus for all of them can focus on some of the subsets,
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particularly covid to and the entirety of eco virus, which includes covid one. having said that, what are we doing? the nih put an investment into this of 3.2 billion dollars for coronavirus research since the pandemic began. a subset of that is coronavirus vaccine research. thus far, it is one and a half billion dollars. we have investments that are based in research awards of about $43 million. that is before academic institutions doing research to develop vaccines which we mention. already, they have had results of funding that has been gone for the past couple of years. these are just a few of the scientifically important
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examples of promising candidates for free critical, naming amounts, small animals, as well as nonhuman primates as wells getting ready for the phase i trials. these are based on a concept of looking at vaccine constructs. i've said in the press briefing when i described mrna, one could look at it as a vaccine platform. or vaccine imaging. currently, we as we talk about it, there is mrna. vaccine immunity. despite proteins in a pre-fusion stabilize form that serves as the basis for the mrna and other vaccines. here are two examples of what is going on now. for example, a number of groups have used the particle approach,
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which is the platform. the immunogen of a different spike protein fragment which is putting vaccine with lean to a diverse antibody response. it covers a broad array of that particular thing. >> . another example is a whole virus vaccine, and we have different versions of the coronavirus that is delivered by an intranasal mix. this is important because this will go all the way to protecting from infection and the spread of infection. i gave two examples because they are two of many that are now currently being produced. . the final slide is some key points. i don't want to have anyone think that the vaccine is around the corner. for a month or two. this is going to take years to develop, and it is incremental. some of these are already in
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phase for clinical trials. don't forget, however, that the current vaccine regimen do provide strong protection when used with a booster for the coronavirus disease and death. do not wait to receive your primary vaccine for regimen, enter vaccines. please get your booster if you are eligible. back to you. jeff: let's open it up for some questions. >> thank you. my first question, let's go to nate at the hill. >> thank you for taking my question. i am wondering about tests. is there any effort underway in the administration to get medicare to cover some of these tests like insurance is doing. >> thank you. yes. on medicare, the program, as you know, already covers lab-based
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tests. it is exploring the best way to provide more testing options to medicare beneficiaries, and we emphasize that currently, they cannot get tested. there many free testing sites on the country, including over 10,000 local pharmacies and other convenient locations it provides 50 million free tests, at-home test, to community health centers, and to medicare health clinics. as you know, it is up and running for free tests for all americans. yes. the answer to your question is the program already does it they cover lab tests, and the other convenient place for medicare beneficiaries is exploited best way to provide more testing options. next question.
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kaiser health. >> thank. a couple of questions about the specifics of n95 masks. how many of the 400 million from the strategic national stockpile are going to community health centers, and why are these masks not being shipped directly in the mail with rapid test kits that are being sent in the mail. for the u.s. postal service. >> thank you. last wednesday, we could go, we launched a program to make 400 million n95 masks available. this is the largest deployment of ppe protective equipment in u.s. history. we determined that the fastest way to get max out was through the channel that we use for
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vaccine, including community health centers, and local pharmacies. we have already shipped masks out, we are beginning to see people pick up these high-quality masks at locations across the country. it came online at several locations across the country, and to retailers like walmart and meyer. last friday, 48 hours after we announced the program, it was off to a very flat start -- flash -- fast start. it was the right decision for a couple weeks. the program will hit full strength, and americans would be able to get free mass, as said earlier. tens of thousands of convenient sites, including committee health centers around the country. also local pharmacies. >> next question. >> npr. >> thank you for taking my
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question. at the top of the briefing, you talked about moving to a lacework covid will not disrupt our lives or be racist i wanted to have you tease out that messaging a little bit more. what will that look like. how do we get there. related to the status of delivery in the antiviral pills for viral. how soon are you expecting to get those tens of millions of pills. >> let's have dr. fauci start on the first, and i will talk about the delivery of the pfizer pills. dr. fauci: people ask that all of the time. what is an except the bull situation with regards to some of the covid two and covid-19, and in this case, omicron, that we are willing to live with in the sense of not having it disrupt our lives? >> first of all, the point we want to make is that we are not there right now. as said, we do have over 2000 deaths it hundred 50,000
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hospitalizations, and you have people who are getting infected to the tune of somewhere around 700,000 a day. we are not there. what we want to be is a sufficient control and control would mean not eradication like we did was smallpox. that is unreasonable. not necessarily elimination. like polio or the measles with max destinations. but a level of control that does not disrupt those in society. it does not dominate our lives. it does not prevent us from doing the things that we generally do under normal existence. that would be a level of infection, but more importantly, concentrating on the severity of disease. hospitalizations and deaths. it would fall within the category of what we generally accept. we don't like it, but we accept it. with other respiratory viruses, like rnc, the flu, even influenza. there is a degree of immunity in
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the general community population. through infections, either act scenes or boosting -- vaccines or boosting. or vaccines alone. that will hopefully get us to the point where we have antivirals to treat people who are at high risk. we no longer are in a situation of threat. threat to our equanimity, threat to our economy, threat to allow us to live a normal life. we believe we can get there. we have the tools with vaccines and boosters. that's what we talk about when we get to the point where we can quote, live, with the virus. but dr. walensky emphasized where we are this point. we saw the way to go. jeff: from pfizer, we have purchased 20 courses of the pill, and we accelerate the delivery of the pill come with
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10 million at the end of june. we have hundreds of thousands of goals across the first quarter of 2022. that moves to millions in order to complete the 10,000,001st half of the 20 million by the end of june. i want to remind everybody that that is one of five pfizer pills one of five effective treatments that we have in our nation's medicine cabinet. we have more treatments between the pfizer pill the merck pill, gsk's monoclonal antibodies, which are effective against omicron, and astrazeneca's preventative therapy, and more. we have more at any point in the pandemic, we are using every tool at our disposal. that is to keep people say. next question. >> let's go to alex at cbs. >> thank you for taking my
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question. can you tell us, how can we know that a johnson & johnson recipient who got vaccines are protected against omicron's severe disease? will we see a change to the regiment for those recipients anytime soon? >> dr. fauci? dr. fauci: if you look at the data we are getting on vaccinations and boosters, it is very clear. obviously, we have a lot more data. especially on mrna vaccines. more than j&j. but there is no reason to believe, given the parallel protection we have seen, with j&j, boosted. or with mrna that is boosted, as well as the mix-and-match, which has been done, where you can vaccinate with one platform and boost with the other, it is very interestingly, it works quite well.
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they do booch each other -- boost each other rather well. in the situation with mrnas, it is quite parallel with the boosted jna. at the first dose, but the boosted j&j. >> let's go to cheyenne at abc. >> thank you. dr. fauci, i had a question for you. could you talk a little bit about the next age group waiting for vaccines for kids four and younger. you have any update on what we will hear from pfizer, and data. i think you talked about that coming in the next month. could you clarify. the vaccine, and when it will be expected to be sufficient, and with covid, do you think the rollout for patients is going well, or will there be other things the government can do to make it easier to obtain.
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>> i will answer the first question, and then i will turn to jeff to answer the second. with regard to the clinical trial's that are being done in children from six months to 24 months and from 24 months to four years, as you probably know, the original data was done to determine if the doses that were given to those children would reach what we call non-interfering with adolescent populations. the original data was performed, and it looked like the dose and the regimen for the children who boosted worked well, but it turned out that the other dose, namely the other group 24 months to four years, it did not yet reach a level of non-inferiority. they are continued, and it looks like it will be a three dose regimen. i don't think we can predict when we will see that because
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the company is still putting the data before the fda, and i certainly don't want to get ahead of the fda because i am not privy to the data, and even if i were, i would not want to anticipate what the fda will do. i think we need to be patient, and no one thing for sure. that is why the system works. the fda is very scrupulous in their ability, and in their effort to make sure that before something gets approved, her people at any, including and especially children, because of the special vulnerability of children, when these vaccines become available for children at those ages, we can be certain that they will be safe, and they will be affected. i cannot give you a timetable on that. you'll have to wait and see. >> for the fda and nih, it was provided with guidance and timelines of which patients should be eligible.
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first for those bills. 85% of the bills have been distributed to the states, to distribute vaccines for them to then put the pills in the most important places within their states and local hospitals to help with health systems and other care systems. 15% is going directly to committee health centers around the country. we will make sure that we are reaching those who are harder to reach, and more vulnerable. there will be responses there that are equitable. i think it is important to note that as soon as we get monoclonal treatment, or fills, we distribute them out to the states so they can get to patients as quickly as possible. next. >> josh from bloomberg. >> thank you very much. dr. fauci, i was home he would have an update on how many orders have been placed for those tests, and if you perhaps
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have it. for dr. fauci and will and ski, i was hoping you would explain why we are seeing cases fall as much as we are, as quickly as we are, particularly in the settings of events, we assume everyone is, or more people were exposed, and is running out of people to expose, or are people clamping down on their behavior, and forgive me for adding on, but tucker carlsen advises viewers to stop using mrna shots entirely. i wondered if you wanted to respond to that, because it is a pretty significant viewership, with a message that was sent out. >> that was three questions. let me go first. as we said, last week, we will have an initial report on orders by the end of this week. that will be coming. we have seen strong demand, and the website has worked very well.
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we have taken and orders quickly and efficiently, and it portly, we already have tens of millions of tests that have gone out the door. they are arriving, and many have arrived, as we have mailboxes and doors. we look forward to getting more from these test, directly at the doorstep, in the days and weeks ahead, dr. walensky, do you want to take the second question on the steepness of decline, and dr. kaci, would you comment on mrna vaccines? >> i would be happy to. the shape of the increase, and the slope of the decline, as well as the narrative of other countries, south africa, the u.k., we have seen this. it is a combination of once you have commented on it, people are behaving differently, in the context of omicron, many are more than they've done before, and what we are in the middle of the surge, i think of a large
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component of people who are vaccinated. people who are getting boosted, and some who have been previously infected, and many have been previously infected now. either with omicron itself, or prior variance. wherever they have some enduring protection. if i could just comment on the mrna vaccine, and just say, in the last week, there was data that demonstrated that if you're boosted, you are 68 times less likely to die than if you are unvaccinated. our hospitals are full of people who have not been vaccinated, and i would encourage people to get vaccinated. i will see if dr. fauci is 80 to add. dr. fauci: i think the data speaks for itself. we make recommendations based on the scientific data and the observations, particularly those that dr. walensky just mentioned. the overwhelming proportion of people in this country who are vaccinated have gotten mrna vaccinations. either the moderna, or if you look at the data, you cannot walk away from the facts.
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the facts of what char stunningly obvious. when you look at the hospitalization and death among unvaccinated versus vaccinated, versus vaccinated and boosted. there really isn't much to say about that, except that the facts speak for themselves. >> next question. we'll go to political. thank you for taking my question. there were senators yesterday who really established a time travel -- table first senate confirmation. the does the biden administration support this proposal, and will director will in ski strengthen accountability for future public health responses, or do you think the idea is done. >> first, we look forward to reviewing the bill and we appreciate the senator focus on pandemic and making sure we never faced a pandemic of this magnitude again.
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we will leave it to congress to sort through the cdc's directors status of confirmation. and overall, we look forward to engaging with the senate when the bill comes together. dr. walensky comedy of anything to add? >> i don't have anything to add. i echo the gratitude and say right now, we hope that this is something we will review, and also the pandemic that we have on her hands right now. >> kevin? >> all right. last question. let's go to steve miller. >> thank you again. i just want to follow-up on dr. fauci's comments in response to the question. in regards to covid, is it your sense, doctor, that this is the last destructive surge of
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covid-19, given all of the tools , vaccines, boosters, antibodies, is there any light at the end of the tunnel that you see now? what metrics are you looking for to start giving people hope for travel, taking out mass, and returning to normal? >> we tend to explain it in terms of the best case scenario, or the worst-case area. we are all hoping for it, and we likely will get more tools for the best and worst case scenario, but we don't know. we have to be prepared for the worst, but we must anticipate the data as it is evolving, with the best case area. it really reiterates what i said before. if you get enough protection from either infection or booze, plus boosting again, or
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vaccination, hopefully boosting because we know how important boosting is, you will get a level of protection in the community that, even if you get another variant, you will not see a surge associate with that variant. you have enough background immunity to protect. the level that we accept is what i mentioned and answered to a previous question. we want to make it low enough so it doesn't disrupt our capability to function in society and a relatively normal way. we do that with other respiratory viruses. we know they can get rnc. particularly against the vulnerable for elderly and children. there is influenza. there is influenza, and it is important. we try best to contain them, but we don't disrupt those. with regard to challenges, hospital systems, with regards to the health care delivery system. that is where we want to be, and i believe we will get there.
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hopefully, soon. rather than later, but as i say this, i say we still will always be prepared for the possibility that there may be a variant that will make that timetable turnaround. so, that is why we are doing all the things we are doing, including the presentation from a little bit ago about the pan coronavirus vaccine. jeff: i would just add that it is in stark contrast to where we were a year ago. we now have the tools to boost ourselves and our businesses. the vaccines, the boosters, the tests, the masks, treatment. that makes this response are different from her situation in the country. from a year ago, we go forward, and as dr. fauci said, we will continue to have those tools and continue to innovate to ensure that we protect people and we can begin to be on a path to
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managing this virus so there is no longer a crisis, but something that we can protect against entry. thank you for the briefing, and we look forward to the next one. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. co-funded by these companies, and more. including cox. cox is committed to providing eligible families access to affordable internet. we bridge the digital divide one decade at a time. cox. bringing us closer. cox. it supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers. giving you a front row seat to democracy.
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