tv Yasmin Vossoughian Reports MSNBC July 21, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PDT
have no doubt that that is going to weigh heavily and be important to him going into the fall as the democrats are fighting to maintain control. >> by the way, my 3-year-old just got his second shot as well. it was quite a moment when he got that free car and free lollipop with that free shot. >> oh, we did the same thing. we also got a free car for my 4-year-old but it's all worth it. second shot, it's exciting days for kids under 5. >> exciting. feels like freedom around the corner. jen, thanks for jumping on for us. good to talk to you. so if you're just joining us it is the top of the hour, welcome, i'm yasmin vossoughian. you're watching msnbc following breaking news out of washington, d.c. we are now getting in as we've been following the story for the last 45 minutes the president, is, in fact, tested positive for covid-19. he has been boosted twice. the last booster he received was, in fact, on march 30th. we are being told he is experiencing mild symptoms doing quite well as we heard from the first lady who spoke to her husband earlier on today.
he's currently getting treatment with paxlovid as we hear that and that is to reduce the likelihood that, in fact, he would be hospitalized or have more severe symptoms from covid. the first lady has tested negative as well. the vice president has been informed of the president's positive test as well so following this breaking news story out of washington and, of course, the fallout from all of this because the president has an incredibly busy schedule ahead and how he's going to deal with all of. i want to bring in mike who has been standing by for us following what's going on inside the white house as the president continues to isolate. we're told that the president will isolate until -- they're quite conservative about it, until he tests negative. if you know differently than me, let me know. what else are you hearing? >> reporter: no, that is, in fact, the white house protocols for just this scenario, whether you're the president of the united states or whether you're a junior white house staffer. but we got brand-new information in the form of a memo from dr. kevin o'connor. i mentioned him earlier, the
president's chief physician. this is the first full summary of the president's health and i'll read you from that letter. dr. o'connor writing this morning as part of our routine screening program for the president, he was -- through an antigen test tested positive. this was subsequently confirmed by pcr testing. he continues that he -- on questioning president biden is currently experiencing mild symptom, runny nose, fatigue with an occasional dry cough which started yesterday evening. he was -- he meets fda cry tear i can't for paxlovid so dr. o'connor writes, i recommended initiating such treatment. dr. o'connor also notes that the president is fully vaccinated and twice boosted so i anticipate he will respond favorably. early use of paxlovid in this case provides additional protection against severe disease. as you just mentioned he also said he will isolate in accordance with cdc recommendations and he would keep the white house updated as it continues.
we expect the white house press secretary to hold a briefing this afternoon at the white house in which we can expect further updates. worth noting that karine jean-pierre was among those traveling with president biden yesterday on air force one with the president and in closer quarters aboard marine one with the president wearing a mask when i saw her getting off marine one last night but, you know, there has been something of a running joke around the press corps, around the white house even that as so many individuals in the administration mock staff have been testing positive for covid-19 the white house has almost routinely said that the president was not a close contact. so now this question of who is a close contact of the president given this diagnosis is one that we're going to be also asking officials about more and more because those officials as you would expect now would be subject to the protocols when somebody does test positive who they are considered to be a close contact for. the first lady, her office already indicating that she is now as a close contact following
cdc guidance in that regard. she'll be masking as well and so this is going to be something worth tracking going forward. yasmin, just to step back and put this obviously in the context of where this president is at this moment, obviously we've been talking so much about lately the speculation about his political future and the concerns about his age, he turns 80 this year, the white house has been saying for weeks now that this is something they acknowledge is going to be something talked about in the context of his political future. that there is nothing as one white house official put it to me short of a time machine we can do to deal with the president's age, but this is something as that official said you can only show, not tell, and the goal was now that the president has finished what has been really a gauntlet of foreign travel of international summits, he's also hosted several here in the united states, that now is the time for the president to get out on the road to really begin his midterm election travel, yesterday we saw him in massachusetts. today he was scheduled to go to
wilkes-barre, pennsylvania, and hold a dnc fund-raiser in philadelphia tonight, the white house already announced he was scheduled to go to florida next week with two stops in that key battleground state so this diagnosis, in that respect, couldn't have come at a worse time just as the white house was hoping to show the president back out on the road keeping a full schedule and getting out there and fighting shape for the midterm elections. >> want to reiterate again, if you see on the bottom of your screen the president has tested positive he is doing fine. it seems he's having mild symptoms. he's tired with a runny nose, on paxlovid. he's been twice boosted at this point so want to continue to reiterate that as people are hearing this news and seeing the line at the bottom of their televisions he is doing just fine amidst all of this. want to bring in, mike, if you would, continue to stand by, if you would, simone sanders. talk to me. give me your reaction to this positive test for the president
and his condition right now. >> hi, yasmin. i've been listen, and, one, i wish the president well. i'm sure that the president is joining all of his meetings via zoom today with zealousness and given everything that we have heard from dr. o'connor, the president's doctor from the doctors that have been on the show earlier on the program earlier this morning, given that the president has been boosted, twice boosted, that he is vaccinated, that he regularly, you know, masks in various places and spaces, that he's taking paxlovid, he is expected to be just fine. but i will say this, yasmin, i think it's important for folks to know that this is a white house that takes covid very seriously. but also understands that covid has not gone away and so you have to live and work and co-exist in the world as it is, it is a world where the pandemic
is still raging so coming off an international trip everyone on that international trip including the principal in this case, the president of the united states of america, they test and they go though a regular -- in addition to their regular testing cadence and the reason we know that the president of the united states has tested positive is because the white house has protocols in place and they are being transparent and zoi so i think all americans should look at what we've seen from the white house this morning as a blueprint, frankly. >> symone sanders, as always, we thank you. i'll take this moment to say congratulations on your nuptials, you looked amazing but thanks for jumping on for us amidst all of the craziness over the last couple of weeks. we appreciate it. my friend. good to talk to you. dr. vin gupta has been standing by. we just got this statement in from dr. ashish jha, dr. gupta, and want to read it to you as to
what the president is specifically experiencing now and when he was administered this paxlovid saying, the paxlovid started just now, so just a couple of hours ago, it seem, the symptoms are tired, runny nose, dry cough as well, the president went to bed and felt fine but did not sleep well and then, in fact, he tested positive this morning. what are you expecting to see as he progresses with his symptoms over the next couple of days, when he'll be feeling better despite the fact that these are just mild symptoms especially with the treatment of paxlovid? >> well, yasmin, this is expected. so for all your viewers out there, what dr. jha just articulated are the president's symptoms. they're upper respiratory symptoms, cough, runny nose, sore throat, constitutional symptom, fatigue, malaise, not unexpected and this is how we expect omicron, the subvariant, ba.5, to actually cause vaccine breakthrough, positive tests. our immune system just to nerd
out on our immune system and respiratory tract. we don't have as many antibodies in our nose and in our throat as we do in other places so easier for an infection to happen or sore throat to occur but for pneumonia, the worst to be avoided. it's not unsurprising. with the initiation of paxlovid i expect that the president is going to hopefully remain with these mild symptoms and i should also clarify here just in reviewing the president's medical history as published last november by the white house physician, his medical history for 79 years of age is pretty darn robust, atrial fibrillation on a blood thinner. he has reflux, acid reflux and on a medication for that and has high cholesterol. all things being said here, those medications for which he's treating those conditions are not contraindications for
paxlovid. for everybody out there a quick psa, if you might think that you need paxlovid because you test positive for covid, one of the big things you have to really consider, your physician needs to consider is or your pharmacist is does paxlovid interact with any of the drugs that you're currently taking. in the president's case, they do not which is a good thing of the that's why he's on it. having said all the president at 79 with those conditions, robust health, yasmin. i think that's key piece here. some people consider him to be a super ager so i suspect with the initiation of paxlovid with that past medical history, the fact that he only has mild symptom, the likelihood he will progress is very low. >> forgive me, dr. gupta, if you could explain what a super ager is, i would appreciate it. >> it's somebody like president biden who is able to bike and be active. >> got it. >> at 79 and whereas that's typically not necessarily a set of activities we would expect at 79. >> so even with this diagnosis
of covid, experiencing these mild symptom, taking paxlovid, having atrial fibrillation as you say are you worried at all about long covid symptoms for this president? is that something his team is likely considering right now? >> you know, what's important to consider, it's something that we should all be mindful of especially now where i think there's this sense here that -- there's this ineff tanlt, fatalism i hear from people, oh, we'll test positive at some point if we haven't already that long covid is a big concern, something we're learning about as we speak. it causes chronic debilitating symptoms like fatigue and brain fog for many months, yasmin. you don't have the cure yet. having said all that, the president is twice boosted on top of being fully vaccinated. he's now getting paxlovid. the risk of developing long covid we know in folks that have that as their baseline protection is quite low. so we know vaccines are
protective against long covid-19 and know paxlovid per early anecdotal data and i've seen it along with others as well the antiviral paxlovid actually helps folks with long covid. there's a lot of balls in the air but it's to say that the risk the president develops, severe pneumonia or long covid are lower, far lower because of that protection. >> certainly good news for the president for the country as well. dr. gupta, if you would continue to stand by for me. want to bring in peter baker standing by as well. peter, if you would just kind of talk to me, what else you know and can add as we're learning now of the president testing positive for covid this morning. >> yeah, yasmin, i was on that trip with the president last week to the middle east. i thought we saw there basically how covid is sort of haunting this president in a way because they take covid very seriously as jen psaki told you and have a lot of protocols and testing, they -- the staff will walk around the white house with
colored bands on the days that they have their tests if they're going to be in a meeting with the president and take it seriously. a lot of meetings are still done by zoom even now and yet you see on this trip that we saw in israel and saudi arabia a president who, you know, is intermingling with people in a very, you know, robust way, right? we saw that again in his domestic trip just yesterday in massachusetts. when he gets off the plane of air force one they told us maybe he won't shake hands because of the new contagious subvariant of covid but does the fist bump at first then he's holding people up close. his face close to theirs and putting their arm around him and shaking hands. he can't stop himself from doing something more -- distant doesn't work for him not wearing a mask and meeting all these people in saudi arabia, massachusetts, all the time and seems like it will catch up to him at some point. fortunately as everybody said, you know, he is vaccinated,
double boosted, all those kind of thing, relatively healthy for a 79-year-old and you have to worry about that because age does make a difference in the impact of this. the important thing as jen said will be transparency. they'll have a briefing later today and have a chance to see what they say in terms of questions that reporters will ask them. >> well, i got to say speaking to what you were just talking about and how it is this president, in fact, interacts, it certainly seems as if while this seemed inevitable, not necessarily surprising, the president has finally tested positive for covid as so many americans at this point have, often multiple times they are certainly prepared as well for this type of diagnosis moving forward even in the midst of an election year. >> well, they are and we are too as the public. we are to longer shocked as we once were. when president trump got it in 2020 it was much more of a national emergency kind of feel because we didn't have vaccines, we didn't know what would happen.
he actually did have pretty bad symptoms and had to be hospitalized. now so many people, so many americans have had covid as you said once, twice, even three times. it feels familiar to a lot of americans and they'll say we hope he feels better but probably move on with their day as long as the news doesn't get worse. >> what's the view from there, peter baker, where you are and the reaction you're hearing to the president's positive covid test? >> well, i think the reaction basically is it did feel like it was inevitable. so few people in america these days who haven't had it at some point or another that it was going to catch up with him eventually. somebody who is going to be out there and mingling and interacting with people. he won't stay isolated back in the white house throughout his presidency and i think mike's point is a good one which this is disappointing because he didn't want to get out on the road and start the midterm campaign. in some ways maybe not bad it happened in july. hopefully that means he'll be able to get out on the road and
be robust through the fall but nobody wishes any ill health on the president. >> hopefully a summer sojourn, a summer holiday for the president at the white house till he resume his activities elsewhere. peter baker, thank you for jumping on. we appreciate it. we'll continue to follow this breaking news, if you are just joining us, the president has, in fact, tested positive for covid early this morning. he is doing okay. doing just fine, experiencing mild symptoms, just a runny nose, tired as well. currently taking paxlovid for treatment. we also heard from the first lady who says she has spoken with her husband. he is feeling just fine, okay. and so we're following this breaking news for you bringing you the news as we get it. more developments as we get it. we'll take a break and we'll be right back. a break and we'll b a break and we'll b right back control... that can scale across all your clouds...
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for covid. he's 79 years of age, the white house saying he's experiencing very mild symptoms. white house covid response coordinator dr. ashish jha telling nbc news the president is tired. he has a runny nose and dry cough as well. the white house is saying he is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and has begun taking the antiviral drug paxlovid. the first lady who is currently in detroit, michigan, considered a close contact has, in fact, tested negative and addressed how he's doing this morning. >> my husband tested positive for covid. 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 and so i'd like to go in and see the program here, learning loss as an educator means a lot to me so thank you for being here today.
>> all right, with me now nbc's mike memoli at the white house. dr. vin gupta is here, medical contributor joining us as well. memoli, let me go to you first and reset what you know about how the president is doing and what's being done to monitor his condition during this time. >> reporter: well, we just heard in the last half hour to dr. kevin o'connor, the president's chief physician, has been his chief physician since his time as vice president so a long relationship, he indicated that, yes, the president is experiencing mild symptoms, a runny nose, a little bit of fatigue, these symptoms came. they began late last night. we understand the president actually had a bit of trouble sleeping and that he was tested this morning first, an antigen and then when that showed a positive result they confirmed it with a pcr test. he is now isolating at the white house and will be monitored and has been given paxlovid, that treatment which dr. o'connor indicates has been one that
shows positive results in most of those who receive it and that they would continue monitoring his symptoms over time. it's worth reminding, yasmin, what the covid protocols are within the white house at this point because i just, in fact, last week had a number of conversations with the white house because this was the matter of not just official intrigue given the rise of the ba.5 variant, i was asking the white house if they were re-evaluating the protocols at this point potentially strategien them but it was also a matter of diplomatic intrigue because you'll remember just before the president left for that middle east trip the white house said he would try to actually limit his physical interaction with the officials he was meeting because of concern about the transmissibility in part of the ba.5 variant. now, that explanation struck some as odd because we know what was on the itinerary for the president, a meeting with crown prince mohammed bin salman of saudi arabia and some suggestion that these new protocols for the president limiting handshakes,
you know, other physical contact with officials was sort of a convenient excuse. we know, of course, the president did not shake hands with the crown prince but ultimately fist bumped with the crown prince. he did shake hands with a number of the other officials there but the white house last week in fact ran me through what the current protocols are and i want to share them with you. first that any individual at the white house who is scheduled to have a meeting with the president that day is first of all almost always wears a mask as an official put it and try to have them in socially distant settings when possible and those officials are also tested the morning of those meetings out of an abundance of caution, now, they noted, of course, that the president's testing regimen had largely remained consistent through his time in office, often twice a week. often monday and thursday but that those days would vary depending on the president's travel so it's notable, of course, it's thursday, a day when he typically would have been given a test as a matter of that regular testing regimen
then this was something of a back and forth with the white house last month as well. it seemed that the white house was stepping back from regular disclosure publicly of those positive tests. during the campaign when i was covering every day of the biden campaign once we entered the covid era each and every time the president or candidate was tested they released those proactively. the white house was not necessarily answering reporters' questions about when his most recent tests were. last week it's worth noting they did release those proactively because it was relevant to his travel. our colleague kelly o'donnell pressed karine jean-pierre on monday about whether she would release any follow-up testing after his trip and, in fact, they did release initially a negative test on tuesday. so this issue of how the white house protocols are, you know, typically they took great pride in these protocols because up to this point the president had not been diagnosed with covid-19. he was able to get through that whole fall campaign and through the first year and a half. yesterday actually was a full
year and a half in office for president biden without receiving covid but at the same time white house officials had always indicated that it was possible he would get it. they weren't shying away from that fact and in this moment and we've seen that moment now come that he would be given the best care and that their level of concern about what would happen was minimal at this point but naturally, of course, we'll hear from the white house and from dr. jha later today in which we'll get more information about what happens now moving forward. >> we just got news on that, mike, as you were talking. we'll get these daily briefings, of course, on the president's condition as he continues to test positive and we're learning now 2:00 p.m. eastern time both white house press secretary karine jean-pierre and dr. ashish jha will be addressing the nation per the president's condition as he continues to grapple with his covid diagnosis. want to bring in dr. vin gupta once again because he does have to run. he does have a day job so, dr. gupta, thanks for sticking with us throughout as we look ahead towards this press briefing at 2:00 p.m. and, of course, continue to learn about the president's condition hoping those symptoms remain mild, what
are you going to be looking for and listening for? >> well, yasmin, just to follow up and real quick point of minor modification here, the anticoagulant that president biden takes for atrial fibrillation, his dose was probably adjusted by dr. o'connor and his white house team, the one point a lot of americans take that medication, want to emphasize that. it's important to note that dr. o'connor's evaluation back in november of 2021, normal chest x-ray, yasmin, normal heart function as well so those are critical points here. normal heart, normal lungs, that is an excellent baseline to start with. if you're having to deal with a positive covid infection. last thing i will say as we're going to be hearing more in the coming hours about his condition, again, a look at his vital sign trend. what is his oxygen doing? how is his lethargy? is he improving in the next 24 to 48 hours.
and then this is sort of an off label question here but something that is very top of mind for clinicians like myself when treating patients with paxlovid. do you stop at day five? i recognize the fda emergency team -- five days of paxlovid. when somebody is high risk like president biden, do you potentially go for a longer period of time? that's something that is happening off label anecdotally i can share that is that is something in an abundance of caution do you do that to prevent the risk of rebound which is happening more and more. off label use we're studying but important consideration. >> things we need to consider as we listen and watch the president's progression through all of this. dr. group tiarks i'll let you go. thank you for your time today. let's talk time line. we talked about as dr. gupta expertly put it in the last hour that last booster shot we know was march 30th. walk us through the president's time line here and when it is he
got vaccinated to when he got boosted -- some of the concerns in that decision-making as well. >> well, president biden really did approach this as in the way that he wanted all americans to approach it. i want to walk you through it. he got the first dose of pfizer in december of 2020. the second in january 2021 and then he got first pfizer booster shot in september of 2021 and second booster on march 2022. when he got the second booster shot he said because of testing, treatments and more we're in a new moment in this pandemic. it does not mean covid-19 is over. it means it no longer controls our lives and as you hear the white house now saying he will be working full time. he will be continuing to do all of his duty, continuing to be the president of the united states, during this. this is him saying, i can do this. i can be healthy even at 79 when i obviously am in a high risk category just in terms of age i feel fine and can continue to do
my job so trying to telegraph that politics should be set aside and know it got so politicized with vaccines and the debates we're having around the country but i think it's remarkable he has every step of the way done it on live tv. i remember being in the room when he was getting his first booster. he was literally taking questions from reporters as he got that shot and it's because he really wanted to tell people, this can be transparent. we should all be in this together and point out as he's going to be doing his job full time with covid. so is bennie thompson, right? we're doing the january 6th committee hearing. eight big summer hearing. primetime. he's going to be doing this hearing chairing it remotely because he has covid so it also tells you that in 2022 while the pandemic is still going flew and, of course, impacting so many people, there are at the highest levels of our government people telegraphing you can continue to do your job if you feel well enough to do it. >> memoli, i'll take a quick break, before we do do you expect to hear from this president soon considering, of course, as we heard from the
former press secretary we do not have mike memoli. so hold that question because i'd like to know the answer to that if, in fact, we're likely going to be hear the president. you have something? >> i don't have anything on whether we'll hear from him himself. i talked to white house officials who said karine jean-pierre and medical officials will come out to talk. the president continuing to do his job, i wouldn't be surprised if we got something from him but it would have to be remotely because he is working in quarantine so sort of a challenge to figure out how you actually get someone in the room with him to do that. >> yeah, does the president know how to set up a zoom? >> right. we might have a president that skypes in, of course. >> skypes in to the world to broadcast to the world he's doing a-okay. thanks, yamiche. we're following this breaking news. once again we'll take a quick break. president testing positive for covid but experiencing mild symptoms, dry cough, runny nose, he's tired but he's doing a-okay at this point. we'll be right back. this point.
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currently taking paxlovid for treatment starting that treatment early this morning. he is experiencing a dry cough, a runny nose. he is lethargic but is being monitored and continuing to work and he is doing just fine. as the first lady put it earlier today, speaking from detroit, michigan. we're continuing to follow the president's condition throughout the next couple of days and will hear from the white house press secretary karine jean-pierre as well as dr. ashish jha on the president's condition at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. we will bring that to you as soon as that happens. with that want to bring in douglas brinkley, presidential historian. thanks for joining us by phone. appreciate you jumping on. give me kind of first your reaction to this president's diagnosis juxtaposing it to the last time we had a president test positive in the white house. >> well, just part of modern life whenever you hear the word covid and particularly when it's your diagnosis you kind of --
covid became the word the pandemic to the plague. what everybody has been trying to avoid but alas there's a kind of herd immunity taking place in america now. everybody's life has been touched by covid and it seems that foreign travel is still risky. this will be an attempt to do detective work to try to figure out exactly where joe biden contracted the virus, but alas, that's going to be a fool's errand but probably when he was in saudi arabia or israel it occurred. i mean, yesterday he was in somerset, massachusetts, and anybody you're seeing on msnbc, you know, photo frame with biden has to test to make sure that they don't have covid. but it is kind of heartening in one regard and that is that when president trump got covid, remember the drama of that when he got rushed to walter reed hospital and he was peering out of windows then he came to the
white house and ripped the mask off and in this case you have a president who's had all his vaccinations, had his booster and this should be nothing more than a case of sniffles and isolation due to the great medical technology we now have with controlling the, you know, the severity of covid-19. >> douglas, how important do you think it is that we hear from the president himself during this period considering that he is the leader of the nation as we're being told is experiencing mild symptoms so far having treatment with paxlovid? how important do you think it is we hear from him personally during this period? >> it's absolutely necessary that he talks to the american people. i wouldn't do it through reporters. if he's up to it, just a feed that could be, you know, downloaded on people's iphones saying, like many americans, i now have covid. i've put myself in isolation and
i'm going to do the proper protocols. i would say when president biden leaves the white house someday he's going to want to say, i tried to educate the american public on how to deal with covid if they got it. so he's going to do all the right things and say all the right thing, meanwhile, joe biden is going to be his surrogate. he may continue to go to pennsylvania where he's due to have a speech. there is a fund-raiser he has tonight, a slate of things obviously will be canceled for the president but jill biden can replace him at some of these if necessary. >> douglas brinkley, we appreciate you joining us this hour. sticking through this breaking news. thank you. before we go to dr. peter hotez, we'll talk to him in a moment, yamiche, you're getting information on the vice president and hearing she is just landing in charlotte, north carolina. hopefully she'll speak to reporters there and can bring that to you. what are you learning on her current condition? >> on background a white house
official is saying the vice president tested negative for covid-19. she last saw the president on tuesday. they're saying she's going to continue on with her schedule, which, of course, is going to mean a busy travel day for her. it's important to hear this because while the first lady is also saying she's negative, the reporting is that she's going to be heading back to wilmington because she's a close contact so two people high in the administration testing negative with two different outcome, the first lady saying she'll go back to wilmington where they have a personal home while the vice president is continuing with her schedule. >> i'm being told the vice president, i should say did, in fact, not address reporters and said given that camera a thumb's up so when it is we hear from either the president or the vice president, for his condition, either way we'll get that. once again at p.m. eastern time and beginning those updates daily on the president's condition throughout this period that he continues to test positive. dr. peter show ted, want to bring you into the conversation as well as we've been speaking to dr. gupta over the last 90
minutes. what it is you're going to be watching for, of course, as we hear about the president's condition, his condition progress and now, of course, his treatment of paxlovid. >> yeah, i think there's both a good news story and a concerning news story. the good news story, he is being maxed out on interventions, as everyone has been reporting he's been vaccinated and doubly boosted. he's on paxlovid which works in the early phase of inhibiting virus replication, the concerning news is his age and we know that as good as two boosts are which it is the best we can do, the centers for disease control reported last week that two dose, two boosts are about 80% protective against hospitalization and 66% protective against emergency room visits and that's just a week or so after getting the boost and we know that that protection declines subsequently, so i think we have to be very cautious and that even though he is doubly boosted
and on paxlovid he still could progress over the next 24 to 48 hours so this is someone obviously because of age you want to watch very closely and i think we should not be profoundly disappointed if we find out that he is brought to walter reed for observation and for closer monitoring. i'm hoping that doesn't happen. i think it's more likely he won't require that but that is a possibility that i think we should be watching for over the next 24, 48 hours. >> talk to me about the timing of the boosters because dr. gupta brought it up as well. you talk about when it is he got his second booster and how much protection he has now so we know it was march 30th so we're about four months away from march 30th. >> yeah, and that's -- >> go ahead. >> that's when you start to see the decline in the effectiveness of the boosters and this is why the fda and cdc have been wringing their hands about whether we should move towards doing a more variant-specific booster or whether by the time it's ready this ba.5 variant,
subvariant will be in the rearview mirror or whether we should switch to a different type of technology to give longer protection. and the question is, should we start advancing to a third immunization, a third booster for the american people and for someone like president biden, the problem is, we're having a lot of trouble convincing americans to take even the first booster only about 30% of americans are doing that. i took the second booster and a lot of my colleagues but very few americans are doing that. so i think there's a lot of booster fatigue in the country. >> and what are you looking at, though, with that in mind, right, if you are of advanced age and you are immunocompromised in certain ways are we looking at a booster every single year at this point? >> or possibly more frequently until we come up with another strategy and so that's what i've been critical of the white house and hhs about is they've not really come up with an
overarching strategy for how we're going to manage the next year or so of the pandemic. ultimately we're going to advance towards a universal coronavirus vaccine and working on that as well as other groups, but that's not going to be ready for at least a year or two so how do we manage the next few months with highly transmissible subvariants and a lot of discussion within the scientific community how to do that. instead what hhs and the white house tend to do is sitting back and letting suggestions coming from the pharma companies. what the white house and hhs really need to do is set the strategy and target product profiles for what you want and tell them what you want. >> do certain variants come back around? i wonder this because if we're getting a booster that would protect against ba.5 in october, ba.5 has already run through the country, the world really at that point. what's the point? >> i agree and i've been -- that's exactly what i've said is by the time that ba.5 subvariant
booster is ready it could be well behind us and on to something entirely new and so, therefore, rather than trying to play a guessing game with what variants are coming next, perhaps boost with i the technology that could give longer, more durable protection and i think that may be possible with possibly moving past mrna technologies and then advance towards a universal coronavirus vaccine over the next year or two. for now i think it's all hands on deck looking after the president. everyone is saying, you know, because he's doubly boosted he's out of the woods. you know, i think you have to be careful about that. it's true we don't see high mortality but he could get sick based on the vaccine effectiveness we've seen coming out of the cdc. hopefully the paxlovid treatment will do a lot to mitigation against that. >> we all hope that is for sure.
dr. peter hotez, we thank you. appreciate it. want to bring in now congressman raja and a member of the house intelligence committee. congressman, thanks for joining us on this and your reaction on learning of the news that the president has, in fact, tested positive for covid. >> well, i wish him a speedy recovery. i had covid earlier this year and i know that it's not fun, but in his case i'm told that they're mild symptoms, seems like he's tired and he's got a runny nose with a dry cough and so hopefully he can just get a little bit of rest here. i know he will continue to be productive but important for him to rest and get back quickly because we need him now more than ever. >> you know, it's interesting because as you said now more than ever, right? democrats are certainly in a precarious time as you march toward the midterm elections as we know the president has been on the road quite a lot and was going to ramp up his schedule even more in the coming weeks, certainly going to put a wrench
in that plan. how important is it that the president, the white house is transparent about his condition during this time period and continues to really kind of show up for the american people and that just means communicating about his health during that time period? as you look towards november? >> i think it's important and i think they're doing a great job so far. they told us he's going to be isolating in the residence and zooming in terms of having his meetings with people and then he's going to remain isolated until he tests negative. and i'm sure they're going to take extra precautions including taking paxlovid. i took it, members of my family took it, it's safe and very effective. >> have you had any other symptoms after taking paxlovid as some have talked about? >> no, none whatsoever and i want to also say that it helps to combat the possibility of
long covid. my wife is a physician and anesthesiologist and was on the front lines intubating a lot of patients at the start. one thing she noticed folks who take this paxlovid treatment are able to stay out of the hospitals and also to see their symptoms slightly milder than others. >> congressman, thank you so much. we appreciate you jumping on for us. thank you, sir. want to bring in washington correspondent andrea mitchell standing by for us. andrea, good to talk to you, my friend. what are you hearing from there? i know you spoke with the cia director just yesterday. incredible work on that, by the way. what are you hearing there on the ground as we hear of this diagnosis for the president testing positive for covid? >> reporter: well, white house officials, of course, are determined to be transparent and they have that in contrast to, of course, with former president trump who was not transparent
when he got covid, we were not informed about the very, very low, dangerously low oxygen levels when he first walked out to cross the south lawn and went to the hospital. then he did that ride with the secret service when he still was fairly sick. now we're being told they're mild symptoms. he is taking paxlovid. look, i had covid last -- i guess in may and took paxlovid. never had a temperature, never had any symptoms at all. so i know that paxlovid does work depending on your own system. i also was double boosted as the president was boosted in march just as he was. and, look, it's worrisome and it's politically worrisome, importantly, because he was supposed to go to pennsylvania today. and just the other day i was talking to a very well-placed pennsylvania democratic official, elected official just
about how perilous the situation is for democrats in pennsylvania. it's a state i know so well, covered it for decades as a local reporter and then nationally, of course, and they're in trouble this year. josh shapiro, the very popular pennsylvania attorney general, incumbent attorney general, he is only four points ahead right now of the republican nominee who is within the margin of error. mastriano marched on january 6, wants a total abortion ban. is far to the right. it's a very big issue. it's an open seat because the democratic governor there is term limited. he was going to wilkes-barre, which is very close to scranton, today, the president, his hometown. there was a lot at stake there. john fedderman, the democratic
nominee for senate, has not been seen except for one print interview this week. he is supposed to make his campaign debut tonight. he had a stroke three days before election day and is far sicker than he was -- than he let on initially and is still recovering from the stroke. it's really important for this president to show -- and this white house to show that he is able to work. he is 79 years old. he will be 80 on november 20th. i covered other presidents when they became ill. especially ronald reagan, who was not as old as this president but was considered the oldest president. when he was running against walter mondale, age became a big issue. he had to deflect that with one liners and with very well-staged campaign activities and did deflect it. that was before social media and
before presidents were as exposed minute by minute, second by second, to any mistake. this president has to show that this illness, covid, which they have long prepared and worried about, can be overcome quickly and that he is back on the job and is still on the job, as i think you were interviewing the former press secretary earlier. presidents are on the job unless they are under anesthesia. then they write a letter and are temporarily turning power over to the vice president and resuming power afterwards. i remember when ronald reagan was first diagnosed with colon cancer. we were brought to the naval hospital. there was a dramatic news conference there, which was after his surgery for colon cancer. it was shocking to all of us. the head of the national cancer
institute said, the president has cancer. nancy reagan was furious. her view was, they cut it out, so he doesn't have cancer. he had cancer. they were very worried about the appearance and the suggestion he was ill. other presidents, george herbert walker bush, if i could say this, he threw up on the japanese prime minister. he had the flu. at a state dinner, no less, on camera. >> that's a moment. >> george w. bush choked on a pretzel. it turned out he had some kind of issue. after he left office, he had heart issues. he was very athletic. a mountain biker. other presidents have had issues. back in the day, we never knew that jfk had kidney disease and
a terrible back issue. a lot of other things we didn't know about jfk. most people did not see fdr in a wheelchair, even though he was paralyzed with polio. he always was covered with a blanket and they made an effort to have him stand up. it's very important in the modern age for presidents to be as transparent as possible. that's what this white house is attempting to do. >> in speaking about that transparency, as you said, andrea, and the importance of this president continuing to show up and to work, despite his covid diagnosis, i do want to go to mike memoli on that, who has some more developing news on this situation. mike, i'm wondering in the consideration this white house is putting into when the president will speak to the american people despite this covid diagnosis, just a couple hours ago at this point. >> reporter: you can understand discussions are happening behind closed doors.
among white house officials about the best path forward, including potentially the means by which president biden might be able to speak to the country or at least address the country whether it's in a form of a taped video or not. it's worth noting not just the first lady is traveling outside washington today but also vice president harris who was aboard air force 2 when the news broke. she landed in charlotte a few minutes ago. she didn't address reporters. a spokesperson for the vice president releasing a tweet in which she says the vice president's schedule today with an event in north carolina will continue as planned. in fact, we expect her to -- when she speaks at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon, to address the fact of the president's diagnosis today, the vice president has spoken by phone with president today. they were last together on tuesday. no word on whether she's considered a close contact at this point. in terms of transparency, it's
worth noting the white house twitter account posted the letter from the president's doctor that i was reading from earlier today. this is an indication of the kind of transparency they are trying to show. also, i think the attitude the white house is trying to convey at this point, that they are not concerned. yes, this is a matter of importance, but they are going to be transparent. i'm reminded of a moment during the 2020 campaign when i was covering then candidate biden, the day that president trump was diagnosed with covid, the then candidate biden went ahead with his schedule. he tested negative back home in wilmington. traveled to michigan to try to carry the keep calm and carry on message they're doing in the white house. >> it seems as if that is being sent to the country right now amidst the president's diagnosis of covid. mikememoli, thank you.
my entire panelists over the last couple of hours, i appreciate you joining me throughout this breaking news. the president testing positive for covid. however, we are learning he is experiencing mild symptoms at the moment. we will follow this breaking news from here. for now, that wraps it up for me. chris jansing picks up coverage with more breaking news after a very short break. more breaking very short break
good day. this is "andrea mitchell reports." i'm chris jansing in new york continuing our breaking news coverage of the stunning announcement a few hours ago that president biden has tested positive for covid. white house coronavirus response coordinator dr. shaw says the president is feeling tired with a runny nose and a dry cough. he is taking paxlovid while in isolation at the residence. he is participating in planned meetings today