tv White House COVID-19 Response Team Holds Briefing CSPAN July 17, 2021 1:43am-2:17am EDT
help, you have the tools, you have the skill set, you have the availability that people over and over again made the choice to put themselves in harm's way for the sake of fellow humans. and that is very instructive and something that we really need to continue to remember. >> jessica delong sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's given day. you can also listen to q&a as a podcast wherever you get your podcasts. ♪ >> now an update on the pandemic from the white house covid-19 response team. the director of the cdc warned that the situation in the u.s. was becoming "a pandemic of the unvaccinated," as cases continue to rise in communities with low vaccination rates.
this is 30 minutes. >> good morning and thanks for joining us. today, dr. walensky will provide an update on the state of the pandemic and the delta variant. and it dr. fauci will present the data from other countries facing the delta variant. i will provide an update on how we're working on a number of fronts to manage this virus. and dr. murphy will discuss vaccine competence with a focus on combating misinformation and disinformation. and then we'll open it up for a few questions. now over to you, dr. walensky. dr. walensky: good morning. let's begin with an overview of the data. yesterday, cdc reported more than 33,000 new cases of covid-19. our seven day average is about 26,300 cases per day. 26,300 cas. this represents an increase of nearly 70% from the prior seven day average. the seven day average of hospital admissions is about
2790 per day, an increase of about 36% from the previous seven day period. seven day average daily deaths have increased by 26% to 211 per day. today, dr. fauci and i want to provide perspective about these numbers and how we should be thinking about where we are at this critical moment in the pandemic. there is a clear message that is coming through. this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. we are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk, and communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well. you can see the patterns of local outbreaks in the slide of community transmissions. the blue and yellow counties have low or moderate transmission. the orange and red counties have substantial to high
transmission. on the left, you can see where we were a month ago and compare it to where we are now on the right. in the last week, 10% of counties have moved into high transmission risk in the red, and 7% of counties have moved into substantial risk in the orange. those counties frequently correspond to counties with low vaccination rates. when we look over time, we can put these increasing cases in perspective. in january, shown in the middle of the slide, we were averaging nearly 200,000 cases per day. the entire country was in a high level of transmission. you can see that from january to june, as you move from left to right, we made remarkable progress where the percent of counties with high transmission decreased as shown by the decrease in red and increases in blue and yellow. in the upper right-hand corner where we are today, you can see the recent surge in cases where
red and orange are increasing. we are in a better position than we were in january through april, this increase in red area is giving us more reason to get more people vaccinated. if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe covid, hospitalization, and deaths and even protected against the known variants, including the delta variant. if you are not vaccinated, you remain at risk. our biggest concern is that we will continue to see preventable cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the unvaccinated. i want to reiterate the importance of adding fully vaccinated. i want to reiterate that people who got the pfizer and moderna vaccine's are most effective against the delta variant when given as two shots in a series.
both vaccines are most effective two weeks after the second dose, with each exceeding 90% effectiveness against severe disease, hospitalization, and death. not completing the series puts those partially vaccinated at risk of illness. if you are beyond that window, i want to reiterate there is no bad time to get your second shot. do it for yourself, your family, and for your community. please do it to protect your young children who cannot get vaccinated themselves. i will turn it over to dr. fauci. dr. fauci: thank you very much, dr. walensky. i would like to continue along the line that dr. walensky mentioned but take a look at it from a global standpoint. clearly, the delta variant is dominant in the world.
if you look at this map of the world, there is about 100 countries that now have the delta variant detected in them since june 2020. next slide. if you look at the average daily prevalence of sars-cov-2 worldwide, you see the extraordinary surge in the dominance of this variant worldwide. as was mentioned in several briefings that we have had, we are seeing an increment in our own country to a point of having more than 50% dominance and in some areas of the country greater than 80%. that is sobering news. take a look at what is going on worldwide with hospitalizations. although israel has the same issue with the dominance of the delta strain, there
hospitalizations have dramatically diminished. if you look at the far-right of the slide, as of a couple of days ago, they are very low. in the next slide, we see the u.k. dramatic diminution in hospitalizations. if you look at the trend on the far-right part of the slide there is that uptick reflecting what dr. walensky just told you about the slight uptick we are seeing in hospitalizations in our own country. we know that the vaccines that are listed on the left-hand part of this slide that are used in this country, pfizer, moderna, and j&j, in lab studies and in clinical effectiveness studies show the effectiveness of these vaccines against the delta variant, particularly against
hospitalization. the next slide shows data from the u.k. with the delta variant, which the pfizer biontech clearly reflects what we have seen with moderna is 96% effective against hospitalizations. we are dealing with a formidable variant in the delta variant by the data that dr. walensky told you and the extreme vulnerability of people who are not vaccinated, which will account for infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. the message, loud and clear, that we need to reiterate is that these vaccines continue to offer strong production against sars-cov-2, including the delta variant. it is so important for yourself, your family, and your community to get vaccinated. back to you.
>> thank you, dr. fauci, dr. walensky. we have come a long way in our fight against this virus. because we have fully vaccinated more than 160 million americans, we have fundamentally changed the course of this pandemic from one that put the lives and livelihoods of all americans at risk to one that predominantly threatens unvaccinated people. as dr. walensky said, as the more transmissible delta variant continues to spread across the country, we will likely continue to experience an increase in covid cases in the weeks ahead with these cases concentrated in communities with lower vaccination rates. just four states accounted for more than 40% of all cases in the past week with one in five of all cases occurring in
florida alone. within communities, these cases are primarily among unvaccinated individuals. at the same time, as dr. fauci said, because we have so many people fully vaccinated, including about 80% of seniors, those who are most vulnerable, those over 65 years of age, we will likely see smaller increases of hospitalizations similar to the israel and u.k. experience. the bottom line continues to be very simple. while fully vaccinated individuals have a high degree of protection against serious illness from covid-19, including the delta variant, unvaccinated americans are not protected against serious illness, hospitalization, and death. we are seeing it in the data. unvaccinated americans account
for virtually all recent covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths. each covid-19 death is tragic. those happening now are even more tragic because they are preventable. every american 12 and older, no matter where they live, has vaccines readily available to them. if you are unvaccinated, please get vaccinated now. the vaccines work. it is safe. it is free. it is readily available. it has never been more important. as we manage this virus, our whole of government effort continues to work to get more people vaccinated, address areas where we have seen outbreaks among the unvaccinated, and prepare for every scenario. first and foremost, we continue to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of new people each day
, meeting unvaccinated americans where they are, answering their questions, helping them make up their mind, and making it even easier and more convenient to get a shot as soon as they are ready to do so. we are doing this by trusting and empowering messengers -- trusted messengers to have those conversations we know work. whether it is vaccinated people and communities across the country talking directly to their neighbors, sharing their own vaccination journey and answering questions, or it is olivia roderigo using her voice and platform to spread the word. we are working with doctors, pharmacists, employers, educators, and school administrators. as dr. murphy will discuss, we are taking disinformation and misinformation head on. we continue to see efforts to diss liberally -- to
deliberately mislead the american people about vaccinations for those who peddled these dangerous lies are harming the people that are most at risk and furthering a pandemic that has already taken more than 600,000 american lives. we are calling on everyone, social media platforms, news organizations, individual americans to call this activity out and to help get the facts out to your friends, families, and communities so we are protecting our fellow americans, not purposefully putting them in harm's way. as i said last week, vaccinating more and more americans each day is an individual by individual, community by community effort. in this type of localized, person-to-person approach takes some time. it is working. in the past 10 days, 5 million americans have rolled up their
sleeves to get a shot. millions more americans will get vaccinated across the summer months. importantly, states with the highest case rates are seeing their vaccination rates go up. in the past week, the five states with the highest case rates, arkansas, florida, louisiana, missouri, and nevada, had a higher rate of people getting newly vaccinated compared to the national average. at the same time, our covid-19 surge response teams are working with governors and local public health officials to provide specific federal resources and capabilities to fight outbreaks due to the spread of the delta variant. we are already helping many states to identify and address specific needs, including testing, therapeutics, and vaccinations. this week, at the request of the
nevada governor, we are deploying more than 100 people to the state to help enhance vaccine access and support vaccine outreach efforts. we are providing cdcs technical expertise, including on genetic sequencing, data analysis, and outbreak response to missouri to help the state in its response. we stand ready to support our state workers with the help they need to curb the spread of the virus and increase vaccinations in their states. we continue to be prepared for any and every scenario, including the possibility of booster shots if and when the science shows they are needed. at this time the cdc and fda have set americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot. independent and rigorous scientific cdc and fda processes
will determine if and when boosters are needed and who might need a booster shot. i want to be clear, the science will guide this. this is a question that they are continually evaluating. we are ready for whatever the science tells us. we have secured enough vaccine supply, and if needed we will ensure americans who might need a booster shot are able to get it quickly and easily. the best thing we can do right now is to get more americans vaccinated. every person matters. every shot matters. every shot is progress. it is another life protected. it is another community that is safer. it is another step toward putting this pandemic behind us. now let me turn it over to dr. murphy.
dr. murphy: thanks so much, jeff. it is great to be with you all again. we have talked about barriers to getting vaccinated. today, i want to focus on a challenge that is affecting millions of americans. yesterday, i issued a surgeon general's advisory on the dangers of health misinformation. surgeon general's advisories are related to threats. today, we live in a world where misinformation poses and urgent threat to our nation's health. health misinformation is false, inaccurate, or misleading information about health according to the best evidence at the time. during this pandemic, health misinformation has led people to resist wearing masks, to turn down proven treatments and in some cases turn to unproven treatments and choose not to get vaccinated.
this has led to avoidable illnesses and death. health misinformation has cost us lives. this week, i traveled to new mexico to live with -- to meet with public health leaders across the state. a common thread was their struggles to help their communities navigate information about covid-19. health misinformation has been a problem long before covid. what is different now is the speed and scale at which health misinformation is spreading. if we want to address health misinformation, we will need and all of society response. that is why the advisory has recommendations for everyone. we include recommendations for individuals and families. we are asking people to raise their bar for sharing health misinformation to ensure it is backed by credible, scientific sources. if you are not sure, don't share.
we are asking other organizations to do their part in every sector from health and education to research and journalism to philanthropy and government. technology companies must act as well. technology companies have enabled this information to poison our information environment with little accountability to their users. it allowed people who intentionally spread misinformation, what we call disinformation, to have extraordinary reach. in this advisory, we are telling technology companies we expect more. we are asking them to modify their algorithms to avoid amplifying misinformation and to swiftly and consistently take action against misinformation super-spreader's. shortly after releasing the advisory, we sought organizations like the rockefeller foundation, the american academy of pediatrics step up and respond to this call
of -- call to action. it is turning the tide against health misinformation. the longer we wait, the more lives we lose. as someone who has lost 10 family members to covid-19 and who wishes each and every date that they had access to the vaccine, it is painful to know that nearly every death we are seeing now from covid-19 could have been prevented. across our nation, the voices of doctors, nurses, scientists, and public health experts are often being drowned out. misinformation robs us of our freedom to make decisions for our health based on scientific factors. our moral and civic responsibility that we must meet together. that is why i issued this surgeon general's advisory. you can read the full advisory at surgeongeneral.gov.
thank you for your time. >> thanks, dr. murphy. let's take a few questions. >> we only have time for a few questions today. let's go to carl at reuters. >> thanks for taking my question. i was wondering if you could share a little bit more details about the current thinking -- i know you say they are not needed now. i have heard some commentary suggesting among compromise people and the elderly they might be needed, maybe latter part of this year or early next year. i know that there can be higher risk side effects. just curious. >> dr. fauci. dr. fauci: as dr. walensky has said multiple times, the cdc is
looking at a number of different cohorts that will get the information that will be needed if and when and to whom we will be giving boosters. i think we should be making sure that people understand because the question often gets asked, particularly among the unvaccinated, if you are talking about boosting people does that mean the vaccines do not work? that is not the case at all. we are dealing with highly effective vaccines. when you talk about a third shot for a two shot vaccine regimen, or another shop for the j&j single-dose regimen, you are talking about enhancing the durability of an already highly effective vaccines eight that is the thing that is being actively studied right now. we talk about this literally on a daily basis, and evidence is being accumulated on a daily and
weekly basis. when we get enough information to make that decision, then that decision will be forthcoming. as we have all said at this time right now, we do not recommend that there be boosters for people. >> want to be very clear from an operational perspective, we are prepared for every scenario, including the possibility of boosters if and when the science shows that they are needed. we have secured enough vaccine supply. if needed, we will ensure that americans who might need a booster shot are able to get them quickly and easily. the science will guide us. they have made it very clear. this is a question they are continually evaluating. next question. go ahead. dr. walensky: with regard to the immunosuppressive population, this is a little different scenario where we might be
concerned that they did not get full protection from their initial two doses. that is a situation that the advisory committee is going to look at next week. >> thank you, dr. wilensky. next question. >> thank you for taking my question. younger unvaccinated people we spoke to believe they will likely be fine if they get infected with coronavirus. wondering if you can paint a picture of who is actually being hospitalized by the delta variant. is the rate of younger people being hospitalized now any different than what we were seeing during different surges in the pandemic? are we seeing breakthrough infections among more vulnerable people who have been vaccinated who might have been around young people? >> dr. fauci. dr. fauci: with regard to the
breakthrough infections that we are seeing, certainly we are seeing them. you have got to remember what the denominator of the vaccinated people are. when you are talking about young people specifically getting hospitalized, we are seeing younger people hospitalized right now relatively speaking to a more extent than before. we did not have the large group of elderly people vaccinated. since we have more of a veil of protection among more people because about 85% of people who are elderly are vaccinated, when you look at the relative number of people who get hospitalized, we are seeing more younger people then we were
before because of the shift of the veil of protection, which is much more dominant among the elderly. >> when we look at the age demographics of people being hospitalized now, we are seeing them go up in all age demographics exactly as dr. fauci noted. over 97% of people entering the hospital right now are unvaccinated. >> next question. >> collins at cnn. >> thanks so much. i've got two questions, one on breakthrough cases and the second on some news that just broke. these breakthrough cases, are they contributing to the spread of coronavirus? is it mainly unvaccinated people , a pandemic of the unvaccinated? pfizer just announced the fda
has granted a priority review designation for approval of their vaccine. they say it the goal date is january 2022. does that mean we will not see full approval until january of 2022? >> dr. fauci on breakthrough cases. dr. fauci: what we do know in the cases that were looked at, if you are vaccinated and you get infected and you compare that person, if you are in a symptomatically infected breakthrough case, and you compare that to someone who is infected but not vaccinated and a symptomatic the level of virus in the vaccinated person is considerably less then the
level virus and a person who was infected, unvaccinated and asy mpomatic. you could make a reasonable assumption that the rate of transmissibility from the asymp tomatic vaccinated person would be less likely than if the person was unvaccinated. the actual studies to do whether or not the transmission occurs is a large study that is ongoing right now. we don't have the data, the clinical data, but i think one can make a reasonable assumption based on the level of virus in the nasopharynx that it will be less likely that that vaccinated breakthrough person would transmit compared to an unvaccinated person. >> on the second question, we will defer to the fda.
next question. >> last question. it's go to zeke miller of ap. >> the president yesterday said he was hoping for a timeline to set a timeline on lifting travel restrictions in the next couple of days. i was hoping you could talk about the objective metrics you are looking to present to the president on when the travel restrictions can be eased. this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated, how does that change the administration's response to the pandemic? is it a different strategy? mass mandates and the like are not necessary because so many people are vaccinated? >> dr. wilensky, do you want to take the second question? dr. walensky: thank you. this is very heterogeneous across the country.
these decisions have to be made at the local level. few have low vaccinations and high case rates, local policymakers might consider whether masking would be something that would be helpful for their community until they scale up vaccination rates because more people than not in the community are unvaccinated. >> the strategies we think going forward about how to get the rest of the country vaccinated is going to involve everyone. this is a moment where we need technology companies to step up and do more to stop the spread of misinformation. we want to work closely with schools and employers to get their help in getting people vaccinated in schools and workplaces. it is going to take each one of us as americans across the country looking to our families and friends and asking them if they are vaccinated. this vaccination campaign -- if
you have people in your life who trust you and look to you for advice, then use that power to help get them accurate information and get them vaccinated. it will take all of us. government can play an important role. this is got to be and all of the above strategy. >> on international travel, we have made important progress on the pandemic. at the same time, we have an increase in cases and the existence of the delta variant. we will continue to put public health first. any decision about opening international travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts. they will be looking at many metrics, including case rates, vaccination rates, and the prevalence of any variants. as you heard yesterday, the president said that we will be