tv White House COVID-19 Response Team Holds Briefing CSPAN April 6, 2022 4:51am-5:27am EDT
>> good afternoon. thanks for joining us. dr. walensky will share us -- with us the latest on the pandemic. dr. fauci will discuss the effectiveness of booster shots. and we will get an update to address the long turn impacts of covid. i want to discuss where we stand on funding of the covid-19 response. we have made tremendous progress against the virus. 217 million americans are fully vaccinated. two out of three eligible adults boosted. a medicine cabinet full of highly effective treatments. and convenient tests. as we have made clear for months, there is more work to do. the country urgently needs judicial funding from congress to continue our fight against covid.
the administration requested emergency response to ensure medical tools, like vaccines, treatments, test remain available to the american people. an -- importantly, funding for global response so we can get more shots in arms around the world. we are encouraged by the senates bipartisan plan to help meet some of our most immediate domestic needs. as we have made clear, we need more for domestic response to stay up-to-date on vaccines, to procure monoclonal antibody treatments and antiviral pills, to provide protections for the meter compromised, -- immunocompromised, and sustain testing capacity. it is a real disappointment that there is no global funding in this bill. this virus knows no borders. it is inour -- in arms act -- in our national interest to vaccinate the world.
without an -- additional response will not have more resources to get shots in arms and countries in need. the funding will root -- will provide oxygen and sequencing capabilities will fall off and undermine our ability to detect any emergency -- emergent variance around the world. as we know, this virus is unpredictable. time is of the essence. we urge congress to move promptly on the $10 billion emergency funding package developed in the senate. the bill is a start. it should pass immediately. it is exactly that, just the start. congress must keep working to immediately provide additional funding for our domestic needs. so that we are prepared for whatever comes. importantly, to act with urgency to fund our global covid-19 response. so that we can accelerate our
efforts to turn vaccines into vaccinations around the world. as we work with congress to fund our global response, we will continue doing all we can to vaccinate the world. at president bynum's direction we have done more than lead global vaccination effort. they have pioneered the global vaccination effort. the u.s. was the first country in the world to donate a significant amount of our own vaccine supply, creating the model for other countries to do the same. the u.s. was the first country to strike a deal with the major vaccine manufacture, to purchase the doses solely to donate to other countries in need. one billion pfizer vaccine doses. we were the first and remain the only country to broker a deal with the u.s. manufacturer and covax to get vaccines into humanitarian zones to reach
people, displaced by war, famine and other crises. we were the first and the only country to give up our place in line for delivery of doses, enabling the african union to more quickly access over 100 million moderna vaccine doses. today we are adding to our list of first. announcing that we will be the first nation to donate tens of millions of pediatric covid-19 vaccines to low and lower middle income countries for free, with no strings attached. these countries around the world are eager to get these doses. in fact, more than 20 low income countries have approached united states asking us to provide vaccines for their young children. we are not ready to answer -- we are now ready to answer their call, it is the right thing to do. the u.s. has delivered half a million adult vaccines to 114
different countries. because of president biden's leadership, vaccine supply is no longer a constraint to getting shots around the world. countries need funding and assistance to turn vaccines into vaccinations. that is why congress must step up and provide critical funding to help countries in need to shots in arms. any low and lower income countries can get those doses. for free with no strings attached. now with more than enough supply for adults, we are working with pfizer to make pediatric doses available to donate, as part of our ongoing commitment to donate 1.2 billion vaccines. thanks to the historic action, current -- children in countries most people have access to safe and effective vaccines. parents will gain the peace of mind that their children are
protected. this virus knows no borders. getting more people vaccinated as one of the best ways to protect people here at home and around the world. today we are making it clear, the u.s. will continue to lead and pioneer the global effort to get both adults and children vaccinated. with that, i will turn it over to dr. walensky. dr. walensky: thank you. good afternoon everyone. let us start by walking through the data. the current seven day average is 25,000 cases a day, a decrease nationally of about 4% over the previous week. it remained stable over the past two weeks. the seven day average of hospitalizations is 1400 per day, a decrease of 17% over the previous week. the seven day average daily tests are 570 per day which is a decrease of 16% over the prior week.
new national estimates released today show the omicron sub lineage ba.2 indicated by light pink in this u.s. map by region is now projected to account for 72% of circulating variance -- variants nationally with the country reporting ba.2 is the dominant variant. as we have shared about the ba.2 variant, there is no evidence that ba.2 results in more severe disease, compared with the ba1 variant, nor does it appear to have been more likely to have a mean protection. for ba.2 does appear to be more transmission both -- transmissible. from vaccines, boosters and previous infections, will provide some protection against ba.2. we strongly encourage everyone to be up-to-date on their covid-19 vaccine. looking across the country, we see 95% are reporting low
covid-19, the public health workforce lost an estimated 60,000 jobs nationwide, despite the continued demand to respond to multiple chronic health stress, like h1 and one, zika and ebola. as we look to building back much needed workforce, we must prioritize the public health workforce that is of diverse communities they serve. culturally competent and equipped with skills to meet the public health needs of communities across the nation. one way we are working to build
this is to public health americorps. a groundbreaking initiative that ruth -- that has recruitment and training for the next generation of public health leaders. through investments of the american rescue plan, it is anticipated to fund up to 5000 positions over the next five years. this week americorps will award 80 grants to the first round of public health americorps programs across 32 states and territories. it will allow the recruitment of nearly 3000 public health americorps members. the members will help address public health needs in our nation's inner cities and to build tribal public-health capacity, to address health disparities in rural america and to bolster public health resources in our u.s. territory. recruitment training and developing of public health personnel is a key part of building our nations public health workforce, allowing us to better respond to current and
future public health threats. now, i will turn it over to dr. fauci. dr. fauci: thank you. i would like to discuss the covid-19 roosters, in the -- covid-19 boosters, in the context of mrna boost. let's get an overview of the situation we are in. several studies have shown that covid-19 vaccine booster shots protect against serious illness, hospitalizations and death. . that is a well-established fact now. the cdc recommends everyone aged 12 and older to receive a covid-19 vaccine booster, after completing her primary vaccination series. certain individuals can receive two booster doses. people who are -- with moderately -- who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. as we know, on march 29 at the
fda authorized second booster doses of two covid-19 vaccines for older and immunocompromised individuals. the cdc recommended that same day, that additional boosters cannot be used for certain individuals. -- can be used for certain individuals. the first booster doses restore the waning vaccine effectiveness of a primary vaccine series, including against severe diseases. the effectiveness of the first booster dose, we know wanes over time. growing evidence indicates that a second covid-19 dose can restore vaccine effectiveness for certain populations, albeit the data for the short-term that we look forward to longer-term data, . let's look at some of the israeli studies.
there are a few of them that are telling. looking at more than one million people, who are aged 60 or older and eligible for the fourth dose, in study -- that study in additional booster dose of the pfizer product at four months resulted in a twofold lower rate of confirmed infection and a 4.3 fold of severe illness. in another study, from israel, about half a million members of the health services group, age 60 and older, and now during an omicron surge, individuals who received a second booster dose of the pfizer product at four months had a 70% reduction in -- 78 -- 70% reduction in death --
78% reduction in death. what you see here in the pink and red, the first booster, a third dose, and in the white and blue color, you look at the mortality rate of individuals who received the second booster or the fourth dose. yet again, in another study, and almost 100,000 people at a different health care service, when you look at the fourth dose and compared to the third, there was an 86% vaccine effectiveness against severe disease. what we are dealing with, looking forward, about fourth doses, that might be available for people in the longer-range, we want to do better than just what we have. there is now a new study that we just recently launched called --
a recent study we just launched, we are assessing fourth doses, or variance pacific in the first phase of the study. -- variant in the first phase of the study. let me close, covid.gov where we can get one-stop stop shopping of all of the information that you will need to helping navigate decisions about vaccines and testing. with that i will handed over to secretary becerra. >> thank you dr. fauci. when it comes to covid we have more tools than ever before to stay safe, vaccines and boosters, to treatments and tests all available at no cost to the american people, thanks to our national covid response
over the past year. we know many people continue to feel the physical and mental burden of this pandemic we have to ensure people with disabilities and older americans and people who are immunocompromised are not left behind. they continue to have the tools and resources they need to stay safe. just yesterday, we expanded coverage of a free over-the-counter covid tests to the tens of millions of medicare beneficiaries. people with medicare have access to up to eight easy to use covid-19 tests at no cost. this is part of our overall strategy to ensure access to test free of charge. in the past year, we have more than tripled the number of sites where people can get covid-19 tests for free and deliverd -- delivered at home rapid test to americans who have ordered them. president biden has been clear, we must ensure no one is left behind as we work forward in the fight of covid-19. that also means taking on a big
and mental health challenges caused by covid. americans of every age and background are experiencing long covid. americans have experienced the loss of a loved one due to covid, including 200,000 children 12 lost a parent or caregiver. americans nationwide are grappling with mental health and substance abuse challenges caused by or exacerbated by the pandemic. let us be clear, we are going to use every tool we have to be here for the americans. we have made a significant investments in mental health care as well as substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support. that is important for people dealing with covid, and covid related loss. we have launched efforts across the nih, the cdc, and the veterans administration including the landmark $1.1 billion recovery initiative to better understand long covid and accelerate scientific progress. we are providing americans
experiencing long covid information about where they can access the resources to support what they need as well is helping them understand if they have a disability and educating them on their rights. long covid israel. there -- long covid is real and they're still so much we do not know about it. many americans are struggling with troubled breathing or regular heartbeats, to less apparent potentially serious conditions related to the brain or mental health. at the president's direction, the department of health and human services will lead a governmentwide response to covid, focused on three main goals, improving care, services and other support for individuals with long covid, enhancing education and outreach among the public, private sector, and the medical community, and advancing research to support both goals. of course, we will collaborate with academic industry and state
and local partners to better understand long covid. through it all, we will continue to assess and highlight the long-term effects of covid-19 on our highest risk communities and make sure they receive the support they need. to do this, we are launching the first ever interagency national research agenda on non--- long covid. hhs will lead a government counsel which will involve experts from the department of defense, the labor department and many agencies across the government to coordinate both public and private sector were to advance our understanding of long covid. and take efforts to prevent, detect and treat it. in real-time, we will share lessons on how to prevent long covid. this coordinated effort will help ensure our research is being directed to the people who need care the most. we continue to focus on improving care. if we receive additional financial support from congress
we will launch new centers of excellence, communities across the country to provide high-quality care to individuals experiencing long covid time to give best practices out there -- and to give best practices out there. as the president has said, we are not leaving anyone behind and that includes our loved ones suffering from long covid and related conditions. we see you, we are focused on you and we are committed to advancing our nation's capacity to trigger condition. i will end with this. we know the best way to prevent long covid is to brett -- prevent you from getting covid in the first place. it is so critical to get vaccinated and boosted, which is our best tools that we have to prevent covid-19. i continue to encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated and boosted to do it so we can move forward safely together. >> let us open it up for some
questions. >> thank you. we only have time for a few questions. let us go to the wall street journal. >> thank you as always for doing the briefing. i wanted to ask about covid funding. republicans are trying to insert an amendment into the covid deal, to reinstate title 42. some democrats such as mark kelly who said they are open to considering such an amendment. as the administration concern to lift title 42 can threaten covid funding? >> thanks for the question. title 42 is a public health authority. it is always been a decision made by scientist and public health experts. it is based on the public health conditions and it should remain independent of the urgently needed funding we talked about today to sustain our covid response here domestically at
our global response. they should not be included on any funding bill the decision should be made by cdc which it has been and that is where it belongs. >> aaron at -- >> thanks so much work to keep my question -- so much for taking my question. just wondering what this increased focus on long covid, is type 2 diabetes being considered with long covid, they found a link between covid infections and an increase of being diagnosed with diabetes. experts i've spoken to say there is a need to screen the u.s. population for diabetes and get more people into diabetes management programs. are you looking for funding for that as well have there been any discussions about that? dr. walensky: thank you for that question. the science is starting to
demonstrate that the length between people who have previously had covid and increasing rates of diabetes diagnoses, public health infrastructure will assist with screening for diabetes but also for nutrition and diabetes care. as we consider the menu of many things that could incorporate -- be incorporated in covert conditions, diabetes should be one of those can -- in covid conditions, diabetes should be one of those. >> based on what dr. walensky has said, we need to work as aggressively as we can to make sure no american is left behind. if we need more funding to address long covid, we are going to fight to get that from congress because we understand that covid is having effects long after the actual virus has escaped us. >> next question. >> thank you were taking my question. by my rudimentary map you
getting 60% of the money you are asking for domestic covid. what takes the hit? what do you do with only 60% of the money? is there any thought of changing the requirements testing for international travel and masks were planes? >> on your second question, no there are no plans to change the international travel requirements at this point. we asked for 22 and five dollars -- $22.5 billion. congress is working to pass $10 billion, only a fraction of the immediate need. that immediate need is immediate. it is for vaccine therapeutics and tests. the $10 billion for domestic efforts funds some of these needs but we still need additional funding for both our
domestic effort and our global effort, where there is no additional funding in the $10 million. every dollar we requested is critical to both our domestic and global response. hhs under the secretary will work through how to best deploy these very limited resources to satisfy the most urgent of the urgent needs. and yes we need congress to pass the $10 billion and get back to work to get more money for domestic and money for global response. >> next question. p >> two questions, first the lack of the covid funding for the vaccine sharing, what impact will that have on the u.s. capacity? for the meeting international commitments for the end of the year? for the doctors, dm any updates on plans and timelines for
pediatrics -- for the doctors do you have any updates on plans and timelines for pediatrics? >> i will go on the impact of not having any additional funding for the global response. the lack of funding has real implications on our efforts to vaccinate, without additional funding, it does not have the resources it needs to help countries get more shots in arms. we will be forced to scale back work we do to provide oxygen and other lifesaving supplies to countries that need them. our global genomic sequencing fall off. and that undermines our ability to detect emerging variants beyond our borders. the virus knows no borders. it is our national interest to vaccinate the world and protect against any possible future variants. it's a disappointment not to have any global funding.
it has real implications. we need funding as quickly as possible. congress needs to act with urgency to fund our global response, so we can accelerate our efforts to turn back -- turn vaccines into vaccinations around the world. >> dr. fauci. dr. fauci: i believe you are referring to where we with the six months to five year vaccine approval or emergency youth -- use authorization. t of various ages including within that cohort of six months up to five years. the data is being analyzed right now. we are sensitive to the fact that many parents out there are waiting for a decision on the the message we have to them is we want to make sure that when
you're dealing with vaccines for anyone, particularly for children, we look at the data. when i say we, i say the fda for authorization than the cdc for the recommendation, so that we know they are safe. thus far there has to be -- there appears to be no safety signal whatsoever that would get anyone worried. the question is what is the right dose and the dose regimen? that would be different for the two companies that are now involved in putting their data in. we ask people to please be patient. one a decision is being made, you can be sure that it is a decision based on good science that is being collected and analyzed by the agencies involved. thank you. >> kevin, next question. >> a couple of more. >> thank you very much. this is a question for dr. walensky. last week you said the option of
a second booster was important for those 65 and up. and those with medical underlying conditions. does especially important mean you recommended or you encourage it for those population groups and you do not encourage it for healthy people 50-65? if it does not mean that, can you give people a clear sense of how to decide to get the second booster since many people do not have doctors to consult with? dr. walensky: we have made the fourth shot available to everyone over the age of 50. everyone does have individual risk assessment as to how they are approaching this vaccine. we would encourage people who are over 50 with underlying medical conditions over the age of 65 to go ahead and get the next shot. also to recognize they may very well need another shot come the fall, that will be the subject of an fda meeting discussion
tomorrow. >> kevin, last question. >> thank you very much. can you talk more about the announcement of the pediatric vaccines? are you able to provide a number? is the fact that they are subbing in for adult vaccines, we have seen jen psaki speak to this, but also callbacks that demand is waning in developing countries for the adult vaccines. is that the reason why they are swapping? or are there more cases of you wanting to hold back a little more adult vaccines just in case we need more widely shots in the u.s.? and encase congress does not deliver more funding? >> these donations are part of the billion pfizer doses that we previously secured. this is international supply. this has nothing to do with our
domestic supply where we do have enough vaccine supply, the booster doses, the fourth doses that the doctors just talked about and recently authorized for compromise people and people over 50. on the domestic front, we do not have sufficient supply of the science that dictates all americans get boosted later in the year. or if we were to need a vaccine specific variant -- a variant specific vaccine than what we have today. we did not have the funding for that. on pediatric international, there are plenty of doses available for adults which gives us the opportunity to provide hundred million or more doses of pfizer's vaccines for 5-11-year-olds to donate in the upcoming months. as i mentioned, 20 countries have already asked including pakistan and vietnam to
vaccinate their children. none of this will undermine the position we have right now which is we have plenty of supply in the u.s. to send them abroad and other countries around the world to do the same to make sure we have plenty of vaccines for adults across the world. we are now able to help lead the world in vaccinating both children and adults in those countries in need. before we close, this is likely my last referring. i want to say it has been the honor of a lifetime to serve in this role. as we enter this new moment in the pandemic, i cannot think of a better person to hand the baton to. i want to thank the secretary. dr. fauci, dr. walensky for your partnership and continued leadership. i want to thank the covid-19 response team at the white house. everyone inside and outside of government who is working
together tirelessly in our fight against the virus. and finally, and importantly to the members of the press, as always thank you for joining these briefings, asking the questions you ask. most importantly, thank you for all of the important critical work you do to provide information to the public. the bottom line, thank myself
such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. connolly: thank you, mr. speaker. i first want to thank chairman greg meeks and ranking member mike mccaul for helping bring this bipartisan resolution to the floor today. i also want to thank my partner in so much of this enterprise with respect to nato and nato parliamentary assembly, mr. turner of ohio. h.res. 831, which we introduced together, mr. turner and i, calls on the united states government to uphold the founding democratic principles of nato and establish a center for democratic resilience within nato itself.