tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN July 21, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
head. get a great offer on internet and security, now with more speed and more bandwidth. plus find out how to get up to a $650 prepaid card with a qualifying bundle. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hello, i'm victor blackwell, welcome to "cnn newsroom." >> i'm alisyn camerota. in just a few minutes, the white house will give us an update on president biden's covid diagnosis. we're going to bring that to you live as soon as it starts. the president's doctor says mr. biden is experiencing very mild symptoms after testing positive today. he has started treatment with that antiviral drug, paxlovid. president biden tweeted out this picture of himself working in his office and says he is doing great. >> yesterday, the president
spoke to a small group at an outdoor event in massachusetts. you see here he shook some hands with people after the speech, exchanged a few words. the first lady, she tested negative this morning. she attended events with the president and the first lady of ukraine earlier this week. mrs. biden spoke to reporters about the president's condition. watch. >> i talked to him just a few minutes ago. he's doing fine. he's feeling good. i tested negative this morning. i am going to keep my schedule. i am, according to cdc guidelines, i'm keeping masked. >> cnn white house correspondent mj lee is with us now. so, mj, what's the latest? >> reporter: any minute now, we should be seeing white house press secretary karen jean-pierre and the white house covid coordinator, dr. ashish jha give us an update. you showed the tweet from the president earlier saying that he is doing great. we know, of course, that he tested positive for covid this
morning, so let me just walk you through a timeline of just the last several days and what we know. we know that it was on tuesday that he last tested negative for covid, of course, before the positive test this morning, and yesterday, wednesday, is when he made that trip to massachusetts to talk about his climate agenda, and then today, after testing positive, we know that his doctor has prescribed him to start taking the paxlovid antiviral medication. now, in terms of just how he is doing, according to this letter that we got from the president's doctor earlier today, he says that the president is only experiencing mild symptoms, so we're talking about a runny nose, some fatigue, the occasional dry cough, and as of this morning, importantly, we are told that the president did not have a fever. now, obviously, the white house is now very busy doing contact tracing, trying to figure out and making sure they are informing everyone who might have been a close contact with
the president. that is going to include members of congress, elected officials that might have been at this event yesterday, including, for example, senators warren and markey of massachusetts, who were both there. of course, we are also talking about senior white house aides, anybody that was traveling with him yesterday, and also don't forget members of the white house press corps, some of whom were, of course, traveling with the president on air force one. now, just to give you a sense of all of this that is playing out in a speedy matter today, i was told that one member of congress who was a close contact of the president yesterday, that their office got that contact tracing call just this afternoon and they were essentially advised that the lawmaker should follow the cdc guidelines for what they should do for being a close contact. so again, we are keeping our eyes on that briefing room. we should be hearing from the white house press secretary and dr. jha any minute now. >> mj, thank you very much for that. obviously, we'll bring that to
people as soon as it happens. joining us to discuss, we have dr. sanjay gupta, cnn medical analyst dr. leana wen and kaitlan collins. sanjay, let me start with you. if you had a 79-year-old patient who you knew was doubly vaxxed, doubly boosted, got his last booster march 30 but was having some symptoms, how concerned would you be? >> the biggest concern is his able. i mean, he's going to be 80 in november and we've known since the earliest days of the pandemic that people who are older are at advanced risk and that's held up, and while he's very, very well protected, as you mentioned, because of his vaccination status, older people are still the greatest risk within the vaccination population as well, so that would be the biggest thing. i would be careful. i think statistically, he's likely to get no worse, probably stay at this sort of level of symptoms for a few days, and then improve. but i would be checking his oxygenation, see if there's anything else that's developing associated with this disease
because those are the things he would be at greatest risk for. >> kaitlan, we were talking about how remarkable that the president has not contracted the virus before now. do we know how operations inside the white house are changing because of this now diagnosis? >> they're changing quite a bit, and ron klain, the chief of staff, sent out an email to staff alerting them about that. he said that president biden will stay in isolation until he tests negative, and in the meantime, he's going to be working from zoom and from the phone, and this is kind of something they had known could pr potentially happen. obviously, covid spreads very easily and they knew there was a chance the president could get it so they had a plan in place and now they're executing it so he can continue to fulfill his duties as president of the united states but this is something they have been bracing for. remember how isolated he was at the height of the pandemic before people were vaccinated? they did drive-in rallies, he didn't campaign like he would
have. even when he first got in the white house, things were very limited when it came to reporters and coverage and staff that was around him. it had started to look a lot more normal at the white house lately. events at the white house were big, east room events were packed with supporters and allies, but they were still regularly tested. you still saw people around the president wearing a mask, so i think they were bracing for this. they knew it could happen, and now, of course, it has happened so he is isolating in the white house residence instead of continuing on with a pretty busy day that he had scheduled. >> he's tweeting out a new video, which we've just gotten into our "newsroom." let's see what the president is saying. >> guess you heard, this morning, i tested positive for covid but i've been double vaccinated, double boosted, symptoms are mild, and i really appreciate your inquiry and concerns, but i'm doing well, getting a lot of work done, going to continue to get it done and in the meantime, thanks for your concern, and keep the faith. it's going to be okay. >> that's a really casual approach. hey, folks, i guess you heard.
tested positive for covid. >> he's trying to assuage any anxieties and he's saying, look, it's a beautiful day, i'm feeling fine, right, dr. wen? does anything raise concern when you see that video? >> no, i think this actually strikes exactly the right tone. i think the message going forward should be, hey, getting covid is something that happens to all of us. we may be getting this once a year or even more frequently, even despite having all these precautions, you could still get covid just because of how much virus is around us, and how transmis transmissible it is. i think it's great that president biden is continuing to work while this is happening, it's business as usual, covid is something that's not stopping him, and i'm also think this is an opportunity to show what honest, frank, transparent communication when it comes to a president's diagnosis can and should look like. and in this case, i completely agree with that sanjay said, given that he is vaccinated, double boosted, and also that he is taking paxlovid, the antiviral treatment, the chance
of him becoming severely ill is extremely low. so, this is what living with covid looks like going forward. >> yeah, sanjay, i joke, but dr. wen makes a good point here about the protection that president biden has. far more than the previous president who contracted covid, spent time at walter reid, that was pre-vaccine, of course, president trump didn't have a vaccine then. just talk about the idea of, will his condition be able to stay at this level, even considering his age, considering he's doubly boosted? >> i think so. i mean, i think if you just look at how people his age, and again, going to be 80 in november, how they do if they are -- have this level of hooimt immunity that he has from the vaccine and the boosters, that's typically what happened. that's the thing, it prevents people or greatly reduces the likelihood they're going to progress to more serious illness. but you know, they still need to keep an eye on that. people often ask, like, how much of a difference does it make? i mean, if you have a vaccinated
population versus an unvaccinated population, and i thought this data was sort of interesting, if you look at last year around this time in 2021 and compare it to now, may of 2022 is when they looked at this, they basically found that about 29 times less likely for people who have that level of imm immunity to die and this was people over the age of 50. if you looked at people even older, the distance was even more striking. we now have data, two and a half years into this, a year and a half into vaccines, about how much of a difference they make at a population level and you can certainly say that he obviously has a ton of benefit because of those. >> all right, dr. sanjay gupta, dr. leana wen, and kaitlan collins, stand by. stand by. the white house press briefing is expected to start in just a couple minutes. we will bring that to you as soon as it happens. also, the january 6th hearings return to primetime tonight. the panel will show outtakes from this video message the former president trump recorded
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okay, we are awaiting an update at the white house on president biden's health after he has tested positive for covid. so, we will bring you this press briefing as soon as it starts. meanwhile, tonight, the gymn january 6th committee will hold a primetime hearing focusing on what president trump was doing for those 187 minutes while a violent mob was attacking police officers at the capitol. >> congressman adam kinzinger released a teaser clip of some
of the testimony that will be presented. witnesses say trump watched the riots on television from the white house dining room. >> was the president in that primary dining room the whole time that the attack on the capitol was going on, or did he ever go, to your knowledge, to the oval office, to the white house situation room, anywhere else? >> to the best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room. >> what did they say, mr. meadows or the president, during that brief encounter? >> i think everybody was watching the tv. >> do you know whether he was watching tv in the dining room when he talked to him on january 6th? >> it's my understanding he was watching television. >> while you were in the dining room in these discussions, was the -- was the violence at the capitol visible on the screen, on the television? >> yes. >> this narrative is central to the committee's goal, to show
that donald trump demonstrated a possibly criminal dereliction of duty during the events of january 6th. >> cnn congressional correspondent ryan nobles joins us now from capitol hill. so ryan, what evidence will the committee -- what other evidence will they present tonight? >> reporter: well, i think what you have just shown is going to be a big part of it, this firsthand testimony from white house aides, many of whom were loyal to donald trump during this period of time, and witnessed as he did not do much to try and quell the violence up here on capitol hill, and in some respects, was rooting on his supporters as they broke into the capitol and attempted to stand in the way of the certification of the election results, and what the committee wants to establish is just an attitude that trump had toward what happened here on january 6th, and part of how they're going to show that he, in some ways, was happy with what happened is by showing outtakes from a video message that he taped the day after, and that message was designed to unify the country, in some respects,
to condemn the violence that took place there on the capitol, but select committee members say these outtakes show trump had a different opinion of that. take a listen. >> the president displayed extreme difficulty in completing his remarks. of course, it's extremely revealing how exactly he went about making those statements, and we're going to let everybody see parts of that. >> and there's no doubt that the committee has been building toward tonight. they've laid out how donald trump purposefully attempted to stand in the way of the certification of the election results, despite knowing, at least being told very specifically, that he lost, about how he worked very hard to get his supporters to come to washington on that day, and now, they're going to show that while the riot was unfolding, that he did not do enough to try and prevent it from getting worse, and in fact, his actions may have made what happened here spiral out of control. there's no doubt that at each stage of this process, they have set expectations at a very high
level. they've been able to exceed or meet those expectations every time. victor and alisyn, we'll see if they're able to do that tonight. >> ryan nobles with the latest for us on capitol hill, thank you very much. let's turn now to new developments on a story first reported by cnn. the department of homeland security's inspector general has now told the secret service to stop its investigation into the potentially deleted text messages that have been requested by the january 6th committee. >> cnn's whitney wild is following this story. whitney, the secret service has now responded, so walk us through this back and forth. >> reporter: well, the secret service is telling us that they have their lawyers basically working overtime to figure out how to deal with all of this. so, let me back up, give you the timeline here, and explain why this is so complicated. the secret service received a notice wednesday telling them to stop investigating the matter, this potential set of deleted text messages, because it could interfere with the inspector general's own investigation into what happened. the letter adds to this growing
tension between the secret service and the dhs inspector general over those missing text messages, which are also being sought by the house select committee as part of its investigation into former president donald trump's actions and movements on january 6th. here's a quote from the letter. "to ensure the integrity of the investigation, the usss must not engage in any further investigative activities regarding the collection and preservation to the evidence referenced above. this includes immediately refraining from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices, and taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation." we know the ig always has the authority to turn an internal investigation into a criminal investigation. the directive could complicate the secret service's response to a subpoena it received from the house select committee last week, as well as a request from the national archives this week to the dhs records officer, asking the agency to clear up whether or not any text messages were improperly deleted, and to explain why.
the problem here, victor and alisyn, is that this internal investigation by the secret service already started. they're pretty far down the road here. they've already told the house select committee they're conducting forensic reviews of cell phones, they're interviewing people who were in this group that the ig was trying to get records from. the secret service has also told the january 6th committee about the ig letter, so lawyers right now, within the secret service, trying to work through all of this, because the reality here is they can't satisfy all of these oversight bodies at the same time when one group is saying, you need to investigate yourself and report back to us, and another group is saying, stop what you're doing right now. back to you. >> significant conflict there. whitney wild, thank you so much. with us now to discuss, two former trump officials, stephanie grisham was white house press secretary. jim schulz is a former white house attorney. stephanie, let me start with you. we watched that montage of white house officials who said that the former president was
watching inside his private dining room. molly michael, it wasn't clear if she testified before the committee before now. how valuable is she? >> she is very, very valuable. she sat right outside the oval and was at the president's beck and call all the time. i mean, he would call for her for every little thing. she was in and out of that dining room all the time so i was very pleased to see that she did testify or at least talk to the committee. she's one of the names i gave to the committee when i first started talking to them. you know, i actually said, on "new day," last winter, that the president was watching tv while all of this unfolded so i'm glad to see that that came out and i'm not looking forward to tonight, but i'm anxious, i'm very anxious, actually, to see what they will lay out tonight at the hearing. >> stephanie, one more follow-up to that, because you did say that. you were the person who we learned from, that he was watching tv, and you had described him at that time as gleefully watching tv, and i think you even said that he was
rewinding the tape and watching some things that he liked. but you weren't there at the white house that day. you were working remotely, so how do you know? >> i was told by several people in the west wing what was happening, all of that before i resigned, and this is something that the president did often. he would sit in the dining room, watch tv, watch the people who were defending him, rewind it, call us in, have us watch the people who were defending him. he enjoyed watching people who would fight for him, whether it was just on tv or, in this case, at the capitol, when people were dying and the capitol was burning and his vice president was in potential danger. >> and now that so many people we've seen so many people testifying during this investigation, can you tell us who told you? >> no, i'm going to still keep that confidential. if that's something that comes out in the hearing, that would be up to them. >> the jim, the case that the committee is trying to make tonight is that this was a dereliction of duty on the president's part. this term of awful but lawful has been floated to describe
what happened at the white house, but do you believe, in this case, that this dereliction is actually criminal? >> so, i think the answer to that question is, it's a tough case to prove, and i think that is -- i think that analogy is correct. but the bigger cases, the defrauding the united states government, the overturning of the outcome of a valid election, and all of these facts, the witnesses who had close proximity to the prosecute, who have come out and testified, numerous individuals at this point, the facts that he was encouraging people to go down, knowing they were armed, all of these facts, the fact that there was pressure put on congress and the vice president, all of that kind of builds a case, if you will, for doj to take a look at should a referral -- even if a referral doesn't make its way over, for doj to make a case of defrauding the united states government and that type of case. not so much the dereliction of duty case, which is a much more difficult case to bring and
probably not one that's viable. >> jim, here's another question for you. apparently, tonight, we're going to see outtakes from january 7th t day after january 6th, where president trump was in the, i guess, oval office, and having to make a statement. this is the -- here's the video that was put out. apparently, we're told by some members of the committee, this was very hard for him. they had to do take after take, and tonight, we're going to see some of the outtakes, and what we just heard from congressman jamie raskin, he said that president trump had extreme difficulty completing his remarks. now, he has a teleprompter there, so do you have any thoughts on why this would have been so hard for him? >> well, i can't speak for what was going through his mind at the time, but what you do know is if it's difficult for him to say, it's something he might not have wanted to say, maybe not agreeing with what his adviser were asking him to say and what was, you know, being advised, that was in the best interest of the country at the time.
>> jim, i'm sorry to interrupt. we want to go to the white house press secretary about president biden. >> personal physician this morning. we released it to you shortly thereafter in the interest of transparency. i have the letter here, and i just want to read it through so we can get started before we get started. "this morning, as part of our routine screening program for the president, the sars-cov-2 virus was detected by antigen testing. this result was subsequently confirmed by a pcr test. unquestioning, president biden is currently experiencing mild symptoms, mostly a runny nose and fatigue with an occasional dry cough, which started yesterday evening. given that he meets usa food and drug administration, fda, emergency use authority criteria for paxlovid, i have recommended initiating such treatment. the president is fully
vaccinated and twice boosted, so i anticipate that he will respond favorably as most maximally protected patients do. early use of paxlovid in this case provides additional protection against severe disease. he will isolate in accordance with cdc recommendations. i will keep your office updated with any changes in his condition or treatment plan." i also wanted to provide you with a brief readout of the president's activities today. the president has been working from the residence, like so many of us have during this pandemic, doing calls with senior staff, including the chief of staff, myself, and dr. jha, who's here with us. as we read out, the president also called senator casey, representative cartwright, mayors of scranton, mayor of
wilkesboro, and representative clie clyburn. the president also called a few of his cousins, and he spoke with ambassadors. you all have seen the photo he posted on -- and the video that was just released to all of you out of transparency moments ago. the president will continue to work from the residence. today, as you all know, as i just mentioned, and as we sent out earlier, dr. ashish jha, our covid-19 response coordinator, is joining us today in the briefing room, and as i tweeted out earlier, dr. jha and i spoke to the president this morning, and he said he's feeling fine. he has a little dry cough, as i just mentioned from the doctor's letter, a little runny nose. he's feeling tired, but he's working very hard on behalf of the american people, and with that, dr. jha? >> good afternoon, everybody. pleased to be with you.
so, as karine mentioned, i spoke to the president earlier, i also spoke at lept ngth with dr. o'connor, the president's personal physician, and i'm happy to take questions. in terms of my conversation with the president, he sounded great. i asked him, you know, mr. president, how are you feeling? he said, i'm feeling fine. he said he was feeling fine. he had been working all morning. he hadn't even been able to finish his breakfast because he had just been busy. i encouraged him to finish his breakfast. in terms of my conversation with dr. o'connor, we talked at length about what happened this morning as karine mentioned. the president got his regular testing that he does on his regular cadence. after he tested positive, he reported these symptoms that have been described. dr. o'connor examined him thoroughly, found his exam to be normal, to be at his baseline,
and then obviously, he recommended that the president take paxlovid. the president accepted that recommendation and has started paxlovid and taken his first course already. i want to also just take a minute to sort of mark this moment. you know, because the president is fully vaccinated, double boosted, his risk of serious illness is dramatically lower. he's also getting treated with a very powerful antiviral, and that further reduces his risk of serious illness. and it's a reminder of the reason that we all work so hard to make sure that every american has the same level of protection that the president has. that every american has the same level of immunity, and why we have worked so hard to make sure that people have access to life-saving treatments like
paxlovid. these are incredibly important things for the president to have. they're incredibly important things for every american to have. and we have worked very hard over the last 18 months to make sure we have plenty of vaccines, that we have plenty of therapies, that people can get tested on a regular basis as the president does, because testing allows you to identify an infection early and get started with treatment early. and we all know, from medicine, that early treatment is always better. let me also take a moment to talk about ba.5. if you listened to me at all in the last couple weeks, you heard me talk a lot about this subvariant of omicron that is now 70%, 80% of all infections in the united states. it's a reminder to everyone, if you are over 50, the way i am, the way many of you might be, if you are over the age of 50, and if you have not gotten a vaccine shot in the year 2022, you need to go get one. you need to go get one now, because it will dramatically
improve your level of protection, reduce your risk of having serious illness. it's the best thing that people can be doing. let me just finish by saying, obviously, we work hard to protect the president, make sure he's been vaccinated and boosted, has access to treatments. we also have been working very, very hard to make sure every american has access to the same things, because every american deserves access to the best vaccines, the best treatments, and they are widely available, and i want to use this moment to remind everybody of that and to remind everybody to avail themselves of that. get vaccinated. if you have a breakthrough infection, get treated. it's the best thing you can do to protect yourself. let me stop and take questions. and i know you will as well. >> we'll both take questions. go ahead. >> thank you so much, dr. jha. has the president been tested to determine which variant he has? is it ba.5? if so, what does that say about his prognosis? >> great question. the virus has been sent off for
sequencing. it takes usually about a week for that sequencing to come back under normal circumstances. he's the president. the sequencing will get prioritized so we should have answers sooner than that, but you can't just tell from a regular test what kind of variant, so the sequencing results will be back at some point less than a week from now. >> has the president had to halt any of his regular medications now that he's taking paxlovid, and what are you doing to mitigate the risk from halting those medications? >> this is a -- i had a conversation about this with dr. o'connor. there are two medicines. he's on eloquis and crestor, a cholesterol-lowering medicine and a blood thinner. both of them need to be stopped when you start paxlovid. it's very standard, common, and you don't need to do anything in those circumstances. they both get stopped for the five days that he's on paxlovid and then they get restarted and it's totally fine and pretty normal practice. >> go ahead. >> where exactly was the president infected?
>> where was he infected? i don't think we know. i certainly don't know. >> look, i don't think that matters, right? i think what matters is we prepared for this moment. i think what matters is what dr. jha just laid out. if we look at where we were a year and a half ago, this is a president, when he walked in, one of his first priorities was to make sure we had a comprehensive plan to get people vaccinated, and so now, today, look to today, more and more people are getting closer to having a more normal life. vaccines are available, and as dr. jha said, if you have not gotten vaccinated, please do. if you have not -- if you have not gotten boosted, please do. these are -- these are treatment that are going to keep you safe. and i think that's what matters here is making sure that we continue to do the work and the good thing is that the president, again, has been vaccinated and double boosted. >> we know that rebound covid cases have been a concern in
some individuals who take paxlovid. are there any precautions you can take to try and prevent that, and how concerned are you that could potentially hinder his return to the office? >> great question. so, let me tell you what we know about rebound. so, we've looked at the clinical data on this because if you look at twitter, it feels like everybody has rebound. but it turns out there's actually clinical data, if you look at major health systems that have given out paxlovid to tens of thousands of people. rebound rates are around 5%. some studies say 8%, some say 2%, but it's in the single digits. it happens. it's not that frequent. here is the key point. when people have rebound, they don't end up in the hospital or particularly sick, and the goal of paxlovid is to keep people from getting seriously ill. and so, it continues to work. his physician is in charge of taking care of him. obviously, the president will continue to be monitored as he is, but the paxlovid is working really well at preventing
serious illness, rebound or no rebound, and that's why he was offered it and that's why the president took it. >> you mentioned the symptoms that the president has had so far, runny nose, fatigue, dry cough. what other symptoms are you looking out for at this point? obviously, this is the beginning of this, and what would warrant hospitalization? >> so, right now, he feels really well. our expectation is that he's going to continue to have mild illness. and he's going to be monitored for symptoms. i mean, if you ask him, you know, kind of every day, i asked him, how is he feeling? having any other symptoms? he's not. we're going to continue monitoring that. i think that is the plan right now is that he's going to get care the way he would, i mean -- he's the president, so obviously he gets extra attention, but i don't think we have any expectations of any other symptoms at this point. >> go to the back. go ahead, april. >> i want to follow up on that with a couple questions. if the president's oxygen level
went down, would it be the candidate to go to the hospital? >> i don't -- so, at this point, we don't -- i generally want to avoid hypotheticals. he is breathing well. his oxygen level is normal. and he is, you know, i was going to say resting comfortably. he's not resting comfortably. he's working comfortably in his residence. >> that's not hypothetical in covid, sir. and the next question, in this moment, we understand that the incubation of covid is two to 14 days. has the white house reached out to those the president has been in contact with, first of all, in-person contact with, in that period of time? >> so, cdc has very clear protocols on this. in terms of when people are contagious, presymptoms. the white house medical unit is conducting, right now, a contact tracing, and they are contacting every single person who meets the cdc definition of a potentially close contact. >> speaking of the cdc, this last question, the cdc says if
you are in a high-risk area, a large swath of the nation is in high-risk area, they recommend wearing masks indoors. in this white house, we're still seeing people back and forth, d.c. is high, it's in the high category. is there now a push to tell people to start wearing the masks indoors, especially as the president now we see has covid? >> i actually, off the top of my head, can't remember where d.c. is on the orange, yellow, green map, so i'm not going to do this off -- but the bottom line is, we follow cdc guidelines and the policy at the white house is to follow cdc guidelines in terms of mask wearing based on cdc's covid community levels. >> go ahead, ashley. >> will the president resume public events in five days if he tests negative, or will the white house be more cautious and have him isolate for ten days? >> the plan right now is to follow -- it's actually, we do
cdc guidelines, but we go beyond cdc guidelines, so he's certainly going to isolate for at least five days, and he will return to normal activities after he's had a negative test. >> and i'm also curious, what precautions -- we saw that video the president put out. what precautions did you take for the person who filmed the video? >> i want to touch on a couple things. right now, we heard from the doctor. dr. o'connor, his personal doctor, and he has mild symptoms and he's continuing to -- continued to do the work of the presidency from his residence, and i think that's important, and you know, to your question, april, every person reacts to covid differently, so it is a hypothetical, right? we're going to keep an eye. the doctor's going to keep an eye on him. i think what's important, though, and i really want to take this opportunity to say this, and dr. jha said this as well, is that he is vaccinated and he is double boosted, which gives him protection.
what makes it -- puts him in a good position, just like every other american that he fought so very hard for to make sure that we had a comprehensive covid plan to get people vaccinated, boosted, and also paxlovid, right? and so, what we need to know is he has mild symptoms, and he is going to continue to do his work as we've seen for the video. ashley, i'm going to take your question right now. look, in the video that you saw, there was his videographer was there with him, wore an n95 mask, had the appropriate distance, the six-feet distance, in the same situation as well with the photo, and as you saw in the video, he was outside, so we did that outside. and with the photo, he took off his mask so that we can -- so the american people could see him and see directly, you know, see the work that he's doing and he's sitting at his desk, continuing to do his work, but just wanted to give that. go ahead, dr. jha. >> can i ask whether there was
any conversation given to other treatments other than paxlovid such as the monoclonal -- it's unclear how the two work together. can you walk through that? >> i think they're two good choices for therapies. >> one or the other? >> i think there are two good choices. there are people who get both. i think this was a decision made by dr. o'connor in consultation with certainly the president, the patient, and i also know that dr. o'connor spoke with infectious disease experts at walter reid and at georgia washington university. that was all part of the plan, by the way. we had always sort of planned if the president got infected, we would consult with experts. he did, and that was the recommendation that derr. o'conr made. >> what's the option if the case were to worsen? someone gets paxlovid, things get worse, can they get a secondary -- >> in terms of his clinical care, first of all, dr. o'connor's going to drive that process with consultation from experts, not just at those institutions, really, around the country. and i think he's going to make decisions based on what is
happening with the president in his condition. right now, the president's feeling well. he described it himself as feeling fine with mild symptoms. >> we've seen rebound cases, second courses of paxlovid. would the president, if he had a rebound case, in other words, tested positive after testing negative, get a second course of paxlovid? >> lot of hypotheticals there. lots of things that might happen down the road. it is hypothetical. the president feels fine right now. i don't think, you know, i think we will cross that bridge if that happens. but at this point, really focus on just making sure the president continues to do -- >> i'm sorry, just very quickly. just to clear the timeline. he popped on a routine screening test and then spoke to doctors about his symptoms as opposed to saying, hey, i have symptoms, let's do a test? that's the order? >> he was scheduled to get his test this morning, and he came -- it came back positive. and on questioning, as i understand from dr. o'connor, on questioning, reported that, yes, he was having mild symptoms.
>> and just to add. you guys saw him yesterday. he was in massachusetts, somerset, he spoke for 20 minutes in 93-degree weather, it was incredibly hot. he was feeling fine. where most of us were looking for water and trying not to pass out, the president was delivering remarks on a very important issue, on climate change, as you all saw. i do want to add just that as we've stated, dr. o'connor, you all will hear -- get daily updates from dr. o'connor and how he's doing. so just wanted to add that and we'll just continue. >> couple simple questions. was the president ever identified as a close contact to anybody else in the last 72 to 100 hours? >> not that i know of. >> well, i'll say this. the process is, we are starting our process that we -- our protocol process on close contact. >> was he identified as a close contact to somebody else, though? >> oh, to someone else? that part, we would have to find out. i can't speak to. what i can say is, our process,
because, as we all stated, he is now positive, we are doing our process to -- for our close contact components. >> how many people have been identified as collose contacts him? >> we are just starting our process. >> to this point, how many have been -- >> i'm just saying, we're just starting our process. i don't have a number to read out to you. he called the members, the congressional members that traveled with him yesterday, but we're just starting out our process right now. >> has anyone else at the white house tested positive this week? >> well, as we have -- as we normally do, if they are a close contact to the president, we normally provide that information. when i tested positive and i was a close contact to -- well, out of abundance of caution, i was not, but because i had traveled with him, we share that information, but we have a protocol here that we will continue to follow when it comes to who's a close contact to the president and making sure that we make that clear, and in december of last year, when
he -- when there was a -- when he was traveling and there was someone who was a close contact to him, we share that as well. so, we've been transparent on that. >> in simple terms, is anybody else in the west wing or at the white house positive now? >> right now, all i can tell you, if they are -- our protocol is, if they are a close contact with any of the principals, we share that information. >> so, you can't say beyond that? let me ask dr. jha one final question. we saw the president's video and i understand the desire of the white house to show the president six feet away. what would your recommendation be? should americans who are positive for covid, if they are in public or in any place at any time, always wear a mask? >> so, the cdc guidance on this is clear. people should isolate and they should be -- they should -- if they're going to be in close contact with anybody else, they should definitely be wearing a mask. the president was more than six feet away from the camera person, who was wearing an n95,
again in that video that you saw, that was outside, so i think it was, from a safety point of view, very safe thing to do. >> thank you, doctor. >> if i could ask a question of dr. jha. >> i'm going to call on everybody. i promise. i'm going to call on everybody. go ahead. >> thanks, karine. can you explain the testing cadence and the rationale behind it? given the rise of ba.5 and the fact that the president's been traveling and having big events, why doesn't he get a daily test? >> the testing cadence is determined by dr. o'connor, his personal physician. he gets tested very regularly. i don't really think there's a huge advantage of testing, like, every day. >> had he tested yesterday morning, for example, he might have tested positive in time to not go on that trip and expose any number of people, right? >> the president -- the proptocl behind the president's testing has been both developed by dr. o'connor but also has gone through a lot of vetting. it's what we use to protect the president and those around him,
and it's been -- i don't have anything else to say beyond the protocol we have. >> look, like dr. jha said, it is between -- it is between him and his personal doctor on that protocol. he has a regular cadence as we have spoken about before. we shared with all of you on tuesday that he tested negative, and the reason why -- you saw him yesterday. i just said, he was speaking in front of many of your colleagues outside for 20 minutes in a -- on a very, very hot day, and it wasn't until later in the day, in the evening, that he was feeling a little tired and he was tested today. look, this goes back to where we have come from where we started. we have -- the president has done the work to make sure that more than 200 million people in this country have been vaccinated. more than 100 million people in this country have been boosted. that's because we have a comprehensive plan to make sure
people get vaccinated so that they can be protected. and so, that is what's most important here. he has mild symptoms. he continues to work. and like many americans, this is, you know, we have to make sure that we send out message to make sure to get vaccinated and boosted if you haven't yet. >> one more. does the president, does the white house, are there any regrets about the amount of time and sort of recent days and past weeks that we've seen him unmasked, shaking hands with people, hugging people, fist bumping, close contact with crowds? in retrospect, was he too casual? >> no. >> not at all. >> look at this. i've said this before, from this podium. we have incredibly contagious variant, and we've had a protocol that, i think, has done a very good job protecting the president. the most important part of that protocol, by the way, is making sure that he was up to date on his vaccines and we had access to treatments. the president wants to get out there and meet american people
and engage, and we always said that this was a possibility. i think i even said it from this stage, that this was a possibility. and i think that the protocols have kept him from getting infected, but we knew this was a possibility with this incredibly contagious variant. the good news is, and this was always the point, the good news is, his immune system is very well protected given the four vaccine shots he's gotten. he's getting treatment. he has mild symptoms. he's feeling fine, his words. >> go ahead. >> dr. jha, if i could please ask you about the president's age. he's 79 years old. what level of concerns does that add when someone like him tests positive? >> very simply, i woulbegin with, what's his immune status and the -- and what are his access to treatments?
and the bottom line is, given how much immunity he has from vaccines, given that he was started on treatments right away, like, literally, had symptoms this morning, got started on paxlovid this morning, i think his -- all of those things very dramatically reduce his risk of serious illness, and that's really the goal here is to prevent serious illness, to keep that risk as low as possible. i think he's gotten that >> and in terms of monitoring his oxygen, is that something that will be done hourly, a couple times a day? walk us through if you could the oxygen levels and the concern that could raise. >> i don't actually know how often. what i will say is he's feeling regularly. his oxygen level was checked this morning. it was normal. and the exact sort of frequency of that is between him and his physician and they are making that call.
. >> you said it doesn't matter where he got it. how could it not matter if he got it if it involves contact tracing. this administration is taking it very seriously. how can it not matter? . >> i think what i was trying to say is what's important now is he has mild symptoms, they say working from the residence on behalf of the american people. that's our focus. look, we knew this was going to happen. as dr. jha said when he joined me in the briefing room not too long ago, he said this is, you know, everyone -- at some point everyone is going to get covid. what is important is to make sure that you get the treatment that we have provided for folks. whether it's make sure you get vaccinated, make sure you get boosted. and then we have paxlovid made available by this president. what matters as we are talking about the president and his
treatment, how he's feeling and how he is continuing to work on behalf of the american flick. go -- public. >> you said he was feeling fine yesterday during his speech but he started to feeling tired later in the evening. i want to clarify. can you say when he started feeling mild symptoms? . >> i cannot say exactly when that occurred. i could say that, you know, he told us this morning he had a runny nose, dry cough, he was a little bit fatigued. he did say he had restless sleep sleep and when that occurred, he got the antigen test, tested positive, and was then given a pcr test. i cannot pinpoint the exact moment. and, you know, we were transparent. i got the letter from -- we put out a statement as soon as we did the test and were able to put out the information. so we were transparent in giving out the statement.
we were transparent in sending out the letter. we will have daily updates in terms of his status. >> i understand that's on the way now. there should be able to give some confirmation of some individuals who are close contact. he was with multiple members yesterday on air force one. he was with the first lady of ukraine as well on tuesday. can you tell us if the vice president was in close contact, if members on the plane were considered close contact? . >> when it came to the vice president, she spoke to this earlier today. she gave comments. she spoke with the president. i will let her speak to that. you heard from the first lady. she's the first lady, and so she spoke -- she said she tested negative. clearly she is a close contact. look, you know, i'll say this. our commitment since last july is to disclose when the president or one of the four
principles is in close contact as defined by the cdc or when he tests positive, which is what we are doing today. for example, we're transparent with the vice president when she tested positive, when the second gentleman tested positive. we are doing that right now with him. we are transparent when president biden was in close contact with a member. for privacy reasons, we will not get into more details as it relates to that. we are starting the process. i don't have a number or list of folks to share with you. i know some of your colleagues traveled with us. if there are any concerns or questions, feel free to reach out to us. if you have personal questions about yourself, feel free to reach out. >> ashley asked as well i think about moving forward, the five-day quarantine. i believe you said he would
quarantine for five days and then he would resume when he tests negative. i want the connective tissue here. if he tests negative on the fifth day, would he resume his schedule as normal? . >> yes. the cdc's guidance is very clear. you have to isolate for five days. the cdc says you can resume five days without a negative test as long as you have a well-fitting mask. the president will get tested. as long as he's isolated, we will wait until he gets a negative antigen test before he returns to activity. >> how does the white house suggest having a president with covid, is he staying in one room, a series of rooms? >> so, as i just stated, he is isolated in the white house residence. look, the president can be a president anywhere. it doesn't matter where he's located. he has the technology.
he has the tools. what he needs, the communication, what he needs to continue to do his job. . >> and staffing here, has it been adjusted at all? >> there's been no change to our protocol as of to date. i've got to go around. your colleagues are going to kill me. i will go to the back. . >> i want to parse the timeline a little bit. i think there may be a comma in the doctor's statement, and i just want to clarify. did he start experiencing the cough last night or all of the symptoms last night? i guess my question is when did he start experiencing fatigue? when was the first sign of fatigue? >> i spoke to the doctor. i spoke to the president. you know, my understanding is, again, his doctor has spent a lot more time with him -- i
haven't spent time with the president. i just spoke to him on the phone. the president felt well all day yesterday. late in the evening, some amount of team. after a long day of travel, i don't know, there are a lot of late evening where i feel fatigue. i don't know about all of you. he went to bed. i asked him how he slept. he said he had a bit of a restless night. and this morning got his routine test that he does. and then when dr. o'connor probed him further on symptoms because he tested positive, that's what he mentioned, yeah, maybe i was a little tired last night. you could say they began late last night or early this morning. >> did he have any fatigue, runny nose on sunday, monday, or tuesday? >> he felt totally normal, at least to me he said he felt totally normal all day yesterday. . >> did he experience any fever or brain fog? . >> he's had no fever.
>> could we get the president's physician here so we can not play the game of telephone? >> i don't think this is a game of telephone. you have dr. jha, who is a medical doctor himself who runs our covid-19 response. you're going to hear regularly through a statement from dr. o'connor. and so we are going to be transparent as we are -- we are going to be transparent, as we have been. we put out a statement. we put out a letter from dr. o'connor. you have both of us answering your questions. you saw a picture of the president, video of the president. we will continue to provide information for all of you and also the american public. i'm going to continue to go around. go ahead. . >> white house press secretary and dr. jha. let's bring in dr. sanjay gupta,
dr. leana wen, and chief white house correspondent kaitlan collins. dr. jha said the president has been working all morning, says he feels fine. what do you hear? . >> he is saying these are mainly mild symptoms, that he expects them not to worsen giving the amount of immunity he has from the vaccines and the boosters. they're going to wait until he tests negative before he would come out of isolation. that's basic live what i heard. what was interesting as well is the testing. this came up a few times. it sounds like president biden tested negative on tuesday. tested positive this morning, as we know, but may have had some symptoms prior to that. it's important to know when he may have been contagious. people can be contagious two days before they develop symptoms. but also to give an idea how long he is likely to stay positive pwrel have a negative test. those are the big things. they spent amount of time
saying, hey, look, this is what the president gets. everyone has access to this as well. that's what dr. jha spent most of his time talking about. . >> how long do we think, let's pretend that the president just had symptoms this morning when he woke up. we know he had something of a fitful night. that means, as sanjay just said, he was contagious yesterday and tuesday. though he had tested negative. and yesterday, i mean, we have video of this event. he was with a lot of people. he was shaking hands. he was speaking very closely. it was outside. but i would imagine contact tracing is going to be difficult. and how many of those people do you think will end up with covid now, dr. wen? >> it's really hard to say. because there are a couple of things happening here. so i think it's really reassuring that president biden tested negative on tuesday. it's unlikely on tuesday he had a high enough viral load to test positive and therefore also to be able to infect other people.
so we're really looking at wednesday, yesterday, as the time period. now, he was in close contact with a lot of people even though it was outside, which is relatively protective. we know ba.5 is extremely contagious. so i think looking at all the people he was exposed to yesterday would be important. hopefully all of those individuals are up to date with their vaccines, which means they are very well protected against severe illness if they were to contract covid. they should be wearing a mask when in public plates. they should be getting tested now and in five days's time. we have protocols at this point. we know how to manage this. what i heard in the briefing is the white house is doing everything right. they're following all the precautions by the cdc and being very transparent about how they're conducting their operations. >> so the president was not tested on wednesday. this is the cadence they have chosen. he was teste