Jul 24, 2022

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Dr. Ashish Jha Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Dr. Ashish Jha Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsKarine Jean-Pierre White House Press Briefing TranscriptsPress Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Dr. Ashish Jha Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Dr. Ashish Jha. Read the transcript here.

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Karine: (00:00)
So first I wanted to read you the letter from the President’s physician updating you on the president’s health. “President Biden completed his first full day of Paxlovid last night, his symptoms have improved. He did mount a temperature yesterday evening to 99.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which responded favorably to Tylenol. His temperature has remained normal since then. His symptoms remain characterized as runny nose and fatigue, with an occasional non-productive now loose cough. His voice is deeper this morning, his pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remain entirely normal on room air. The President is tolerating treatment well. We will continue Paxlovid as planned. His symptoms will be treated supportively with oral hydration, Tylenol and albuterol inhaler that he uses as needed. His Eliquis and Crestor are being held during Paxlovid treatment. And for several days after his last dose, during this time, it is reasonable to add low dose aspirin as an alternative type of blood thinner.

Karine: (01:13)
As I stated previously, the President is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, so I anticipate that he will respond favorably as most maximally protected patients do. There has been nothing in the course of his illness thus far, which gives me cause to alter the initial expectation early use of Paxlovid provides additional protection against severe disease. He will isolate in accordance with CDC recommendations and he will continue to monitor him closely during this very common outpatient treatment regimen. As promise, I will keep your office updated with any changes in his condition or treatment plan, respectively, Kevin C. O’Connor.” So I also wanted to update you on what the President has been up to and how he’s continuing to work hard on behalf of the American people. Last night, the President signed the baby formula bill Congress passed. He also spoke with Senator Carper to see how he was feeling and to the hosts of yesterday’s DNC event, to thank them for their flexibility. This morning, the President received the President’s daily briefing virtually, as you all know, he also met virtually with his economic team on the progress being made to lower gas prices for American families. As you all saw yourselves, Dr. Jha and I spoke to the President over FaceTime this afternoon. I asked him if he had a message for the American people. The President said he’s still putting in eight plus hours a work a day, and that he wants to remind Americans to get vaccinated because in his own words, “It matters.”

Karine: (02:57)
Look, the president hopes the country will see that while we should continue to take COVID very seriously, we have the tools we need to deal with this. President Biden is benefiting from two vaccines, two boosters, and he’s advocating for every American to take advantage of these vaccines and boosters, which we have made available for free at 90,000 convenient places nationwide. And he’s benefiting from Paxlovid, a powerful antiviral we’ve made available at 42,000 locations, including local pharmacies across the country. All Americans have access to the same vaccines boosters treatment that president Biden is receiving right here at the White House. And the president hopes that all Americans who are over 50, get boosted now, if they haven’t already and get Paxlovid if they test positive, now I’m glad to return to the briefing room. Dr. Jha, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator who is joining me today. And we’re happy to take some questions. Go ahead, Dr. Jha I know you have a few things that you wanted to share.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (04:06)
Sure. Good afternoon, everybody, I’m going to make a few remarks, some things similar to Karine. First of all, good to be with all of you today. You just heard Karine give an update on the President and I’m happy to answer questions about his health in a second. As you heard, we FaceTimed with the President earlier today. I also spoke at length multiple times today with Dr. O’Connor. And as you all saw just a few minutes ago, the President is doing better. He slept well, last night he ate his breakfast and lunch fully, he actually showed me his plate. Didn’t ask about the menu, but I did see an empty plate with crumbs and I have some guesses about what was there, but didn’t ask.

Speaker 1: (04:51)
No comfort food?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (04:53)
Didn’t ask. I did ask him about his appetite. He joked that his one regret was that his appetite had not changed. Look, he was, he is in a very good mood. I want to take a step back and emphasize the message that you heard from Karine. As the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, what I think every American needs to hear what the President laid out is that while we have a very contagious variant up there, thanks to this President’s leadership, we have the ability to manage this. We are now at a point, I believe, where we can prevent nearly every COVID death in America.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (05:36)
That is a remarkable fact. So if you are vaccinated, but have not gotten a booster, this is a really good time to go and get a booster. If you’re over 50 and haven’t gotten a vaccine shot in the year 2022, this is a really good time to go and get a shot. They are free. They are widely available. And as you heard, if you are over the age of 50 or have any kind of chronic condition that meets CDC criteria, please consider getting treated, if you have a breakthrough infection, and if you don’t have a regular doctor, you can go to covid.gov and find a test to treat site near you.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (06:11)
I also want to share some data about the progress we are making both on vaccines and treatments, just over the last couple of weeks. Over the last seven days, we’ve gotten 2.2 million more shots into people’s arms. That’s the highest we’ve seen in a month. More than 900,000 Americans have gotten their second booster shot in the last week. That’s the highest number in six weeks. So as Americans go about their daily lives this summer, they’re heeding the public health message and not just on vaccinations, by the way, on treatments as well. You know, when I started in this role about three, three and a half months ago, we were seeing less than 4,000 prescriptions, a day of Paxlovid. Now Paxlovid prescriptions are at their highest level. Last week, about 40,000 courses of Paxlovid were prescribed every single day across America. It’s a remarkable fact. And if you think about the fact that we have about 120,000 identified infections, even if you assume that some infections are not getting in identified because of home tests, it’s a large proportion of people getting Paxlovid, I think that’s really good.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (07:19)
It’s preventing hospitalizations. It’s preventing deaths every day. Overall, just so far in the month of July, 920,000 Americans have benefited from packs of it. We have secured 20 million courses of Paxlovid. That’s the most in the world by a lot. And again, we’ve made it widely available and of course, free.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (07:40)
All right, let me finish by providing what I think is really the bottom line. It’s great to see the President doing better. He’s doing better because he is vaccinated. He is boosted. He’s getting treatments. He is getting world-class treatment, exactly what you would expect for the President of the United States. And the President has made clear to us that it’s incredibly important to him, and therefore it’s incredibly important to all of us, that all Americans have easy, free access to the same world-class treatment that he’s getting; vaccinations, therapeutics. So my message to my fellow Americans really is this: please avail yourself of this vaccine to build up your immunity. Please avail yourselves of treatments, if you qualify, if you get infected and let’s continue to do everything we can to prevent serious illness and death from this pandemic, right? Thank you very much for listening. And I’m happy to take questions. As I know, [inaudible 00:08:35] is as well,

Speaker 2: (08:37)
A few quick ones. I know the White House released his elevated temperature level of 99.4 degrees, can the White House provide specific numbers on his oxygen levels, blood pressure levels beyond just saying that they are normal. Would you be willing to release that information?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (08:51)
You know, what I will say is he gets his vital signs checked several times a day, so of course there are multiple numbers in there. All of his vitals, including his temperature, I would argue, but all of his vitals have always been in the normal range, his heart rate, his blood pressure, his oxygen level and his temperature. The 99.4 was the highest temperature he’s had in the last, well, 24 hours, but I would say since his diagnosis, but he’s had a normal vital signs throughout the entire course of the disease.

Speaker 2: (09:18)
And by this point, has the White House identified all close contacts of the president? And do they go beyond, I believe the first lady, the vice president and Dr. O’Connor.

Karine: (09:27)
So, the White House Medical Unit has identified and informed 17 people determined to be close contacts of the president, including members of his senior staff. None of the staff members have tested positive to date, and all of them are wearing masks around other people per CDC guidelines. No members of the press have been identified as close contact as well, and this also includes the member of Congress that he traveled with recently.

Speaker 2: (10:00)
And I just want to triple clarify the testing dates because if so, if yesterday was day zero, today is obviously day one, Tuesday would be day five, so does that mean he won’t be tested until day six and if he’s negative on Wednesday, then he could resume in person activities, is that the timeline we should be understanding?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (10:16)
Yeah. So, obviously the CDC guidelines, right, are five days of isolation. He will do that, those five days of isolation, he will be tested after he’s completed his five days of isolation. And once he tests negative, he will return to work.

Speaker 2: (10:31)
He will be first tested next on Wednesday.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (10:35)
Yeah, again, I haven’t done the math, but yes, he’s going to do five full days of isolation. Today’s day one, yesterday was day zero and he’ll get tested after day five. And then if, again, the moment that he turns negative, he’ll return to work.

Speaker 2: (10:49)
You guys both talked a lot about obviously the message from the President being, “Get vaccinated” at this time, but you also mentioned just how extremely contagious and variant, and so why not do additional mitigate, encouraging additional mitigation measures like mask wearing indoors or other-

Dr. Ashish Jha: (11:05)
You mean, in general? Yeah, absolutely. And I have, like, I did a COVID briefing, I don’t know about a week ago in which we laid out our two-prong strategy. I actually think I did it yesterday where I said, “Two-prong strategy; one to prevent serious illness, one to prevent infections.” So in terms of mitigation, very, very clear CDC guidelines on this, very clear if you’re in one of their orange zones, people indoor spaces should be wearing a mask. It’s a great way to prevent getting infected, it’s a great way of preventing spread. Another important mitigation measure is using regular testing. The President obviously gets tested regularly. Many of us get tested regularly. We’ve sent out 560 million tests, I believe, if that number is right, I think it’s 560 million tests to Americans directly for free from COVIDtest.gov. People can go and get tests, tests have become cheaper, you can get it through your health insurance. We think regular testing is another important mitigation measure.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (11:55)
And then, we’re doing a whole series of work on trying to improve indoor air quality, improving ventilation, filtration. So we are doing a lot on mitigation and we talk about it, I’m talking about it now, but when we’re talking about the President who is now infected, the key is to also remind people that we have a very contagious variant, people will get infected. Our absolute priority is making sure that when people get infected, they don’t get seriously ill.

Speaker 3: (12:24)
Thanks Dr. Jha, how frequently is the President being examined by a physician in person?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (12:31)
Well, so I mean, people are interacting with the President all day through Zoom and stuff. Dr. O’Connor has been seeing him on a regular basis. I think I don’t have a exact number of times that he saw him yesterday or today, but multiple times today, either by phone call, by Zoom, physically examining him, but the President’s doing really well. So he doesn’t need an ongoing exam all the time. And obviously he’s getting examined at least once a day, but Dr. O’Connor is interacting with the president on a regular basis.

Speaker 3: (13:01)
And has the President been examined by any other physicians beyond Dr. O’Connor?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (13:05)
Physically examined? I mean, I’ve spoken to him by FaceTime. Not that I know of, not that I know of.

Speaker 3: (13:10)
Was there a discussion about the possibility that eliminating the blood thinner even for just five days, would increase the risk of stroke because he’s on Chronicle atrial fibrillation?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (13:23)
Yeah. So we, by the way, clinically do this a lot. I can’t remember probably thousands of patients that I have taken care of over the years in the hospital who come in, who need a procedure who are on blood thinners, like Eliquis or other blood thinners that we stop for short periods of time where people get procedure, he’s obviously stopped it because he’s on Paxlovid. For atrial fibrillation we think is a relatively low risk thing to do, but Dr. O’Connor as was part of the plan has been consulting with experts around the country and based on input that he got, he made the decision to give the president a short course of aspirin during that time.

Speaker 3: (13:59)
So this was a discussion that took place, whether or not to go with Paxlovid over say a monoclonal antibody?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (14:06)
You know, that decision was made by Dr. O’Connor. Paxlovid is the first line agent that we recommend that was a decision, that the Dr. O’Connor made. And then we know that you have to look at somebody’s medication list and determine, do you have to make modifications? Dr. O’Connor made the decision to stop these two medicines. I talked about, those are very reasonable, that’s what all the specialty societies recommend that they be paused. And so then, Dr. O’Connor made the decision to add aspirin for a short period of time.

Speaker 3: (14:34)
That’s fair. I think Dr. O’Connor also said that the President’s using an inhaler as needed. Does he regularly use an albuterol inhaler or is this something that was prescribed just to deal with the COVID symptoms?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (14:46)
Yeah, so as, I think all of because it’s been disclosed for years, the President used to have asthma. He has what people talk about as reactive airway disease, which is people often when they have a viral syndrome or some people get it when they go out in the cold or some people get it when they exercise, can get a little bit of bronchiospasm or cough the way to treat it is with an inhaler. So the President, his last time he used it before this illness was when he had a cold, I think last fall, at some point during that cold, he also had a little bit of cough that comes with viral syndromes and used it. So he does not use it on a regular basis, it’s not part of his regular medications, but in the context of a viral syndrome.

Speaker 4: (15:27)
You have been crediting the president’s boosters for part of the reason that his symptoms are so mild, should all Americans, regardless of age, be eligible for that second booster? And if so, what’s the delay here?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (15:38)
Yeah. So the FDA is very clear on this and we follow FDA scientists and their guidelines on this; people over 50, if it’s been at least five months should get that second booster. I’ve been very vocal in my advocacy; I think the evidence here is over overwhelmingly clear. The date on people under 50 that’s something the FDA is continuing to examine. They have not made a determination that is something that is warranted and we really do follow the FDA guidelines on these things.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (16:03)
Is warranted. And we really do follow the FDA guidelines on these things, authorization. Thank you.

Press 1: (16:05)
Dr Jha, the CDC says that one third of Americans still haven’t been fully vaccinated. And you mentioned, I think it was to New York Times that Congress still hasn’t allocated enough funding for boosters into the fall. What is your message to Congress if they don’t allocate funding for boosters in the fall? And also, what’s your message to Americans who still refuse to get vaccinated? And I have another question after them.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (16:30)
Yeah. So let’s start with talking to Americans. I think what we’re seeing across the country is, there are a lot of infections, but when people are vaccinated and boosted, they tend to have far less serious illness. This virus is going to be with us forever. It’s really, really important that people build up their immunity against this virus. And so, I’ve been very clear for years, two years or a year and a half guess since we’ve had vaccines, that getting vaccinated is one of the best ways that people have to protect themselves. To Congress, what I would say is, Congress has been a great partner to this administration in terms of funding the COVID response, making sure that vaccines and therapeutics are widely available. And that’s one of the reasons we have plenty of vaccines right now, but the problem is that, we need to continue this effort.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (17:20)
The reason we have seen so much progress, is because we’ve had the resources to do the things that are necessary for the American people. And if we take our foot off the gas and stop all this work that we are doing, we will slide backwards and we do not want that. And we can do a lot in the administration, but we need funding to do all those things. And Congress is the part of our government that allocates funding. So my message to Congress is, it’s really important to continue to protect the American people. As we get into the fall and winter, we will need more resources. We need the resources now, to prepare for the fall and winter. And it’s really important that Congress step up into its part.

Press 1: (17:57)
So anyway, Dr Rochelle Walensky had says that we’re headed toward a new normal with COVID. And currently, CDC says that 41,000 Americans are now hospitalized still and 480 deaths a day… Are dying from this disease. What does a new normal mean? And what is an acceptable number of deaths?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (18:24)
So let me say two things. First of all, we’re clearly in a much better place than where we were. You have to have two. There are two sets of things that we have to be able to… Things that sound contradictory, but actually we have to keep in our heads at the same time. One is we’re in much, much better place in where we were 18 months ago, when the president took office. Deaths are down 90%, 400, 300, 400, 480 deaths a day, totally unacceptable. At 400 deaths a day, that’s 130,000 deaths a year. That’s three times worse than a bad flu season. That is not acceptable, should not be acceptable, certainly is not acceptable to this administration. And that is why we are here every day and working and trying to inform Americans that, the best way to reduce that number, the best way to make sure that fewer people die, fewer people get hospitalized, is to make sure people have built up their immunity through vaccines, and that people get treated when they have breakthrough infections.

Press 1: (19:19)
First for you, Dr Jha, then I have one for you too, Karine. So on bringing him down from the Eliquis, a number of physicians have suggested that having the dosage might also be… Or might be a preferable option. Could you talk a little bit about why that course wasn’t taken?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (19:32)
Yeah. There are several different ways of doing this. What I know is that, I spoke to Dr O’Connor, he has consulted… And again, we had a plan and Dr O’Connor had a plan to consult experts at Walter Reed, at GW, elsewhere. He’s done those consultations. And based on that input, Dr. O’Connor made the decision to stop it for five plus days, and then start aspirin.

Press 1: (20:02)
And sorry, just to clarify, and he has started the aspirin course, or that was just something that was recommended?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (20:08)
He has started the aspirin courses, as I understand it.

Press 1: (20:09)
Back to you, Karine. I didn’t hear in your introductory marks, a look ahead to next week. And I’m just curious if you have anything… If this is going to delay the Xi meeting, for example. Where are we on that?

Karine: (20:23)
So as far as president Xi, I don’t have anything to share on that. I know the president spoke to that a couple days ago, and his words was, he’s expected to speak to him in the next 10 days. Again, nothing on his schedule to share at this time. Look, when it comes to president Xi, we have kept open communications with China, as we have stated many times before on staff level. The president last spoke to him in March. I don’t have anything more to add on that. And when it comes to his schedule, we’ll see how the president does. He’s improving, which we all should be thrilled that the President of the United States is doing better, according to Dr O’Connor. That is good news. And we welcome that good news, and we continue to wish him well.

Press 2: (21:14)
Karine, are the chances of serious complications behind the president now? Can you all at least speak to that?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (21:22)
Yeah. What I would say is, he’s continued to be monitored very, very closely. It’s obviously day… This day one, but it’s his second day that since his infection was identified. I’m really happy to see that he is getting better and we will continue monitoring very closely, until he tests negative.

Press 2: (21:42)
And so, any chances of serious complications, or-

Dr. Ashish Jha: (21:45)
I think the chances of serious complications for this present have been dramatically reduced by building up of his immunity and getting him antiviral drugs. The things that really make a huge difference in lowering his risk. And that’s, I think the most important part of this. We’ll continue monitoring him and we’ll see how he does over the next few days.

Press 2: (22:05)
Thank you.

Karine: (22:06)
And I just wanted to add, as far as a schedule and events. Look, the president was very active today. He had said he’s working eight plus hours a day, and that is, he’s still doing the job of the president. So that does not end. And we have put out photos and videos, you guys heard from him directly. So I just wanted to add that as you’re asking about his schedule. Okay.

Press 3: (22:25)
Just a quick follow up to Mary’s question about the inhaler. Has the president used an inhaler since testing positive for COVID, or was Dr O’Connor just saying, if he needs it, he will use it going forward.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (22:37)
Yep. What I understand is that, he has used it a couple of times since testing positive. As you may have heard, he’s got a cough. And I mentioned this yesterday, it’s in the Dr O’Connor’s note. Oftentimes when people get viral syndromes and they get a cough, taking an inhaler can be helpful. So he’s taking that.

Press 3: (22:56)
The use of the inhaler was not noted in his last physical, right?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (23:00)
It’s not a regular medicine that he uses, right. He really only uses it intermittently, largely when he gets viral syndromes, when he gets cold, basically. And so, it’s not a regular medicine that he uses on an ongoing basis.

Press 3: (23:16)
The other question I have for you, Dr Jha. Vice President Harris is a close contact with the president. And the CDC guidance says that if you’re a close contact, you want to wear a well fitting mask when you’re around other people. She just spoke at a conference in DC and she hugged someone without a mask on. She was also maskless for most of that conversation. Would you have recommended that she keep her mask on, given that is the CDC guidance?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (23:41)
I have not been tracking the vice president’s activities. So I don’t have anything specific to say about what she did. My understanding is that, the vice president is following CDC guidelines on close contact. She’s also recently been infected. So within the 90 days of a previous infection, but I don’t know if you have anything else to offer on the Vice President.

Press 3: (24:03)
I guess she isn’t following the CDC guidance though, if she is hugging someone without a mask on. Just wanted your clarification on that.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (24:11)
Yeah, I think the CDC guidance is clear, but the problem is, me commenting on what the vice president did when I wasn’t actually, I haven’t seen it, or I don’t actually know what happened is very, very difficult. So I’m going to pass on that.

Press 4: (24:20)
She took off the mask and she embraced someone. You don’t have to see it. That’s what happened.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (24:25)
Yeah. So usually, when we think about people having contact, is for extended period of time. Again, I didn’t see the hug. I don’t know how long about hug lasted, but it’s very hard for me to comment on something I really didn’t see.

Press 3: (24:38)
And Karine, the president had said that he was going to receive a report on monkeypox today. Is that happening? What is the report, do you know?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (24:47)
Yeah, I don’t know where that report is. I know there is a report that has been written for the president, whether the president has had a chance to see it yet today, I don’t know.

Press 3: (24:54)
So it’s an internal report that he will be receiving from his advisors.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (24:58)

Press 3: (25:02)
Will that be made public or?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (25:03)
The president gets lots of reports from his advisors. I don’t know which ones get made public. It’s just an update on the status of monkeypox.

Karine: (25:10)
Yeah. I would just look at that as an update to the president on what we have been doing and responding to the monkeypox. It’s not a report to share out. It’s something for the president, which he gets very often, just to get a sense of the work that we’re doing on an issue. So that’s what… Go ahead.

Press 4: (25:26)
Just for clarifying a couple details for our accuracy in reporting. You said of the 17 close contacts. One of them as a member of Congress, is that…?

Karine: (25:33)
No, I was saying it includes the members of Congress. I do not have the specific of each person.

Press 4: (25:40)
Is that something you would be able to detail without identifying them? How many members of Congress?

Karine: (25:43)
Well, we just want to be… Privacy is incredibly important here-

Press 4: (25:48)
So, reach out to their office then, directly?

Karine: (25:48)
Yeah. I would reach out to them directly. What I’m saying is, we’ve contacted 17 people. Within those 17 people, they’re senior staff. And within those 17 people, it also includes members of Congress. And as to date, no one has… As to today, as far as we know, no one has tested positive.

Press 4: (26:04)
And then, I guess not specific to those close contacts, but can you tell us, is there anybody else on the White House campus right now who has tested positive this week?

Karine: (26:12)
So out of abundance of privacy, to protect people’s privacy, our protocol is to only share if someone has had close contact to the president and the four principles. That is just our protocol. We have to keep people’s privacy here, and that is incredibly important, and we respect that.

Press 4: (26:33)
Understood. So just for clarity, even if without identifying names, we can’t do it. [inaudible 00:26:37].

Karine: (26:36)
Again. I’m not going to share private information or private detail on anybody.

Press 4: (26:43)
I want to get your reaction to Steve Bannon. But while we’re on this topic, can I ask you Dr Jha very quickly? We don’t know what this is, but there can be earlier indications of what type of sub variant it is. You said it could happen within less than a week. Just for the sake, and I know it’s a bit of a hypothetical, but over the weekend, we may learn some more details, may not see you. BA 5, which is the most dominant sub variant right now. Is that one that after you get that, you could be more inclined to get another one within a smaller period of time? In other words, someone who got something recently, is that one they’re more eligible or more able to get? Can you help people better understand who are concerned about it?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (27:14)
Yeah, absolutely. So BA 5 is the most immunovasive variant we’ve seen. And what that means is, that if you were infected three months ago, four months ago, your protection against getting reinfected with BA5 is much lower. If you were vaccinated five, six months ago, you have a much higher risk of getting a breakthrough infection. If you’re infected with BA 5, what that means for future immunity, none of us know right now, because BA 5 has just become dominant. It’s the primary. So we don’t know what the implications are. And we obviously don’t know what variant or sub variant the president was infected with.

Press 4: (27:47)
I guess I should ask, how about if you just had it a month ago? Three months ago, I recognize it’s lower. But for someone who had it a month ago, if it’s immune invasive, does that mean you could get it within a month and having that, in another case?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (27:58)
So depends on what you had a month ago. And if it was BA 5, wasn’t dominant then, but it was still present. Obviously, if you had BA 5 a month ago, then you’re much less likely to be able to get BA 5 now. So it just depends. We have seen occasionally people getting infected within that 90 days, but it is still relatively uncommon.

Press 4: (28:16)
Thanks. Did you have any reaction for this Steve Bannon case? I know it’s over and I know obviously…

Karine: (28:23)
What did you just say? Which is the last part? I missed the joke.

Press 2: (28:27)
No, I was just saying, we can tell you wanted to address that.

Karine: (28:29)
Oh. So look, I’m not going to comment specifically on that case, but obviously everyone should cooperate with the January 6th Committee. Our administration has been made very clear, this president finds what the select committee is doing, the January 6th Committee is doing, very important and people should be listening and learning from what happened on that very dark day. And this a is very important committee where they’re working to get to the bottom of what happened on that day. It was an attack, not just on our democracy, but also an attack on our law enforcement. And again, I’m not going to comment on that specifically, but yes, people obviously should cooperate with the committee. Go ahead.

Press 4: (29:13)
Thanks Karine. Dr Jha, are there any other medications that the president is prescribed, that he occasionally takes that do not appear on his 2021 health summary?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (29:27)
Yeah, not that I’m aware of.

Press 4: (29:27)
Okay. And then, why are we not hearing from Dr O’Connor on this? I understand you’ve released statements from him. But yesterday, we had a difficult time comparing the description of the symptom progression from Dr O’Connor’s letter, versus how you all laid it out in the briefing room. And then Dr Jha, you did some interviews this morning, but your last update from the president was at 10:00 the night before?

Karine: (29:50)
Well, a couple of hours ago at 11:00, you got a detailed letter from Dr O’Connor. We’ve given you two detailed letters from Dr O’Connor and you’ve heard directly from him. Look, we-

Press 5: (30:04)
We haven’t heard directly from him.

Karine: (30:04)
Yes, you have. You’ve heard from the letter that is hearing directly from him. We’re not playing telephone here. You’re hearing directly from the physician-

Press 5: (30:16)
[inaudible 00:30:16] is not directly.

Karine: (30:17)
Yes, it is. That is hearing directly from, in his words. In his words, you are hearing directly from Dr O’Connor as I read out, but I’m answering your colleagues question here. So give me the second to do that. Thank you. So you’ve heard directly from him and not only that, you have heard more, I would argue, easily argue about a mild symptoms of a virus than any other president. Dr Jha and I were here for an hour, fielding questions. We’re here today, answering questions. We are going to commit to making sure you’re hearing from Dr O’Connor, from his daily report, detailed report from Dr O’Connor.

Karine: (31:04)
And here’s the thing, Dr Jha is one of the former most expert in this field when it comes to COVID. He also has dealt with COVID patients. He clearly is running our COVID response and is a medical doctor, and he knows how this process works. And again, we should feel good and be very happy that the president is doing better, that he is improving. This is the President of the United States. He’s improving, he’s reacting well to the treatments. And let’s not forget, we have the tools to treat this because of the work that this president has done.

Press 4: (31:44)
I understand the point you’re making that the president’s improving, that Dr Jha’s a medical doctor, obviously a lot of experience running COVID response unit. But when we’ve got questions about his symptoms progressing, he had a fever last night, his cough is now loose as opposed to dry. And the first time we hear-

Karine: (32:02)
He did not have a fever last night, just to.

Press 4: (32:03)
… supposed to dry. And the first time we hear-

Karine: (32:03)
He did not have a fever last night. Just to make that clear. I think Dr. Jha made that very clear.

Press 4: (32:06)

Karine: (32:07)
99.4 is not a fever. It’s not even a low grade fever. So he did not have a fever last night.

Press 4: (32:12)
He treated it with Tylenol.

Karine: (32:13)
He gave Tylenol. And I should actually let Dr. Jha speak to this more because he is the medical doctor which is why he’s joining me today at the briefing room, he gave the Tylenol for discomfort. Which is not unusual if you have COVID. Many of you have had COVID. We would argue that if we probably take the temperature of some people here, they might have a 99.4 degree Fahrenheit temperature. That is not uncommon. But I would let Dr. Jha speak to that more.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (32:40)
Let me-

Speaker 5: (32:41)
[inaudible 00:32:41]

Dr. Ashish Jha: (32:42)
Let me just talk about the … Dr. O’Connor. You’ve heard directly from him, as Karine said, in terms of the notes that he writes every morning. He and I, he and Dr. Fauci, all of us talk multiple times during the day. Dr. Fauci is the president’s chief medical advisor and obviously one of the foremost experts on infectious diseases. We speak very regularly. I’ve been connecting, speaking every day with the president, today by FaceTime. And you are getting updates about twice a day. You got one yesterday at this time. Early this morning you got an update about how he was through last night. I was on TV at 6:40 in the morning. Did not think it was appropriate for me to call the president at 6:20, wake him up and say, “How are you feeling?” I think he’d be … probably would tell me that he would be feeling better if I hadn’t called and woken him.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (33:39)
Obviously he was seen early this morning. He was examined. And then immediately we put out information about the president’s status overnight. I’m now here to give you more information about that. The point is, we’re giving you information on a very, very regular basis. And we’re doing it as a team with all of us.

Press 4: (33:56)
It’s confusing though. When his letter has described his 99.4 degree non-fever as being treated with Tylenol, and now we’re hearing from you that he was treated for discomfort, that’s an inconsistency.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (34:12)
I’ll have to pull up the letter. But what I understand and spoke to Dr. O’Connor, spoke to the president, and those of you who know, 100.4 … I’ve been taking care of patients for 20-some odd years, 100.4 is what we consider a low grade fever. 101.5 is what we would consider a regular fever. 99.4 is very much within the normal range. Most people are between 97 and 99. People tend to have slightly higher temperatures later in the day and into the evening. This is often why we see fevers often come up for people who actually have fever in the evening.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (34:47)
Told you yesterday, the patient … Patient. Well, the patient, the president was feeling tired and he just didn’t feel as great yesterday. Feels much better today, by the way. Anybody who’s ever had a viral syndrome, I assume many of you have had a cold in your life, many of you have had COVID, many of you might have had a flu, when you just don’t feel great, taking Tylenol helps you feel better. And so Dr. O’Connor gave him some Tylenol early in the evening and … but noted, because his temperature was 99.4, he just noted his temperature was 99.4. That was the highest temperature the president’s had in the last 24 hours or since he was found to be infected and so he noted that as a part of his treatments. But the president has had no fevers. 99.4 is the highest temperature the president’s had so far. And the president has continued to do better and feel better today.

Press 4: (35:44)
Will you continue to do these briefings throughout the weekend?

Karine: (35:46)
I already spoke to that. Well, I may not have spoken to that. I’m excited to hear that you guys want to hang out with us over the weekend

Press 4: (35:59)
I do. As much as possible.

Karine: (35:59)
Wow. Okay.

Karine: (36:06)
Look, we are going to continue. In all seriousness, we’re going to continue to provide updates from the president’s physician as we have detailed report, as you guys have been receiving. And we’ll see you guys on Monday. We’re not going to be here over the weekend, but we will be communicating as we have been the last 24 hours ago.

Press 4: (36:28)
Will we [inaudible 00:36:28] or see him newly every day.

Karine: (36:30)
I can’t promise anything right now or commit to any specific-

Speaker 5: (36:35)
Or if there’s any change in his status?

Karine: (36:36)
If there’s any change, again, you’re going to get a daily report from the president every day and so that will provide any information about his health.

Karine: (36:46)
I just want to reiterate this. The president is improving. He has very mild symptoms of a virus and we should be thrilled that the President of the United States is doing better. And again, it’s because of the treatments.

Speaker 5: (37:04)
[inaudible 00:37:04].

Karine: (37:04)
Well, that’s the wrong administration. You’re asking the wrong administration that question.

Karine: (37:10)
But again, we have the tools and that’s why we are able to give him the treatment. Also, this is what the president has been working on for the past year and a half to make sure that the treatment that he’s getting, others can. So again, folks could get … should get vaccinated if they haven’t, and they should get boosted as well.

Karine: (37:29)
We’re going to continue. Go ahead.

Speaker 5: (37:31)
Thanks, Karine.

Speaker 5: (37:31)
Speaking of this weekend, are you aware of any plans to schedule events, briefings, meetings for the president while he’s in isolation? Or is it the expectation he’ll just watch TV?

Karine: (37:41)
Well, it’s a similar question that I just got right now. What we commit to is making sure you all hear a detailed report from the president’s physician. If we have more information, we will share that with all of you.

Speaker 5: (37:54)
There are no plans for him to engage in activities or anything like that?

Karine: (37:57)
Again, if we have more to share, we will share that. I don’t have anything right here at the podium to share with you.

Speaker 5: (38:03)
What can you tell us about, other than, for example, the official photographer or videographer, who else is actually in the room with the president? Is he being staffed? Is the chief of staff actually in the room with him, or anyone else?

Karine: (38:16)
Primarily, all of his meetings have been virtual. You saw one meeting just moments ago right before we started this briefing with his economic team. You all had an opportunity to go into the soft court auditorium to hear directly from the president. So primarily, all of his meetings have been virtual. He is following CDC guidance when it comes to a very, very, very small footprint around him. As you saw, the videographer, the photographer was with him. They were socially distanced at six feet. They wore a N95 mask. He is making sure that he is isolating and keeping to the CDC guidelines.

Speaker 5: (38:57)
Just as far as you know, just the videographer, the photographer, small footprint?

Karine: (39:00)
A very small footprint. I don’t have a list for you at this time, but very small footprint. He is indeed adhering to the CDC guidelines.

Speaker 6: (39:09)
Following up on Jackie’s question, can we just clarify for the record the timeline of the president’s illness? Dr. O’Connor’s letter, the first letter yesterday said that symptoms, or at least the cough started Wednesday evening. Then the briefing Dr. Jha did yesterday, you said that he wasn’t symptomatic until Thursday morning. Can we just get, when did symptoms actually start?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (39:29)
Yep. And I spoke to the president and I asked him directly on Wednesday evening, two evenings ago, felt fine all day, felt fine in the evening. The only thing he said he felt before he went to bed was he felt tired. He did not have a cough. Did not have any other symptoms on Wednesday night. Now, whether that tiredness is part of COVID or whether he had just had a long day, he had been standing outside in 95 degree temperatures … Speaking, again, I sometimes look at the president’s schedule and I get tired looking at his schedule. So we don’t know, but he felt a little tired. He went to bed and then he said he had a restless night. Just didn’t sleep well. Woke up multiple times.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (40:14)
Again, is that a COVID symptom? It’s hard to say. People have restless nights. They’re tired before they go to bed. The next morning he was … he got tested as part of his routine testing. What Dr. O’Connor described to me was, he asked questions like, “How are you doing? How are you feeling?” As the antigen test came back positive, he began to probe more, obviously, as the PCR test was being done, “Are you really feeling okay?” And the president said, “Well, I do feel like I had this bit of a runny nose and a little bit of a cough.” And those things the president said he’d really been aware of just in the morning around that time.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (40:53)
That’s what Dr. O’Connor described to me. That’s what the president described to me as timeline. And that’s how I understand the symptom progression.

Speaker 6: (41:02)
Two of the events that the president’s had to pull down for now are political ones. There was the fundraiser in Philadelphia, DNC event in Florida. Is he concerned at all about, one of the things he wanted to do moving forward was really start drawing his contrast message for the Republicans ahead of the midterms. I know he’s working along remotely, but is he worried at all about the political piece of his job right now?

Karine: (41:24)
No, he’s not worried. He’s going to continue to do the work that you’ve seen him do. He’s also making phone calls. He’s having these virtual meetings that we have provided.

Karine: (41:39)
As we know, COVID is not unusual. This is something that we were preparing for. There is treatment. There are tools to make sure that we all are able to deal with COVID in this current time. We’ll continue to move forward on that, but he’s not concerned.

Speaker 7: (42:05)
These are two questions for Dr. Jha. What, precisely, is the president’s most recent blood oxygen level? You called it normal, but that’s a little vague. I wonder if you could put some more specificity on that.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (42:16)
He gets all of his vitals checked several times a day. What I will say is he’s not short of breath. He’s breathing fine. He’s obviously on room air. His oxygen levels have consistently been in the normal range throughout the entire 36 or whatever number of hours since he’s tested positive. There have been no concerns around his oxygen level. He feels fine. Obviously he’s been on room air the whole time. Hasn’t felt short of breath. His oxygen levels have been normal.

Speaker 7: (42:43)
Can you give us what that range would be?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (42:45)
What the normal range is?

Speaker 7: (42:47)

Dr. Ashish Jha: (42:49)
Look, what I will say is that there’s never been any concern about his oxygen. His oxygen levels have always been normal throughout the whole time that he’s been infected and getting tested.

Speaker 7: (42:59)
Just one more follow- up. When do you expect that you will have identified which variant has infected the president?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (43:05)
It’s a very good question. As I think I mentioned yesterday, typically takes about a week to do genetic sequencing. As I said, this virus is going to get a little bit of special treatment because this is the president. So we know it’s going to get expedited, usually takes a week because, A, there’s some time in actual sequencing. But they’re going to prioritize getting this sequence.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (43:25)
I don’t actually have a date and a time that I’m expecting it. My assumption is it’s going to be faster than a week, but we will see. My hope is early next week sometime.

Speaker 8: (43:35)
Thanks Karine.

Speaker 8: (43:36)
Just jumping on Steve’s question. I just want to be clear, you’re saying primarily the meetings have been virtually. Other people can be in a room on a virtual meeting. I just want to be clear, are you saying that Ron Klain, nor any other officials, top officials have been in the room with President Biden?

Karine: (43:54)
From my understanding, the meetings that he has had with his top officials have been virtually.

Speaker 8: (44:00)
Does that mean no other officials in the room with him though?

Karine: (44:03)
That is my understanding.

Speaker 8: (44:05)
And if I could just ask about the January 6th hearings. Do you know if the president had a chance to watch them? Any reaction regarding the hearings last night?

Speaker 8: (44:15)
Also, our understanding is he was planning to address them. Obviously that’s not going to happen in the next couple days, but is there a plan to address the January 6th hearings in the near future?

Karine: (44:26)
There’s no plan at this time for the president to address the hearing. I can tell you that I spoke … I asked the president if he was able to watch the hearings last night. He told me he caught some of it, the beginning of the hearings. I will say what we have said and reiterate what we have said many times, the president believes that it was a very dark day in our time, in our history, in our democracy when we saw the attack that happened at the Capitol, when we saw the attack on our law enforcement. He believes that he supports the January 6th committee, he believes that they’re doing important work. And he really believes that the American people should be watching and paying attention. I know that was their last hearing last night, but he was able to catch some of it.

Speaker 8: (45:14)
On the part that he caught last night, did he share anything about those specific parts? Any thoughts about how-

Karine: (45:22)
No. He didn’t share specific parts. I did not ask him. I just asked if he was able to catch some of the hearing last night.

Speaker 9: (45:29)
Thank you.

Speaker 9: (45:30)
Couple clarifying questions. I know you said that his temp, or even Dr. O’Connor said after citing his temperature of 99.4 degrees, said after Tylenol his, quote, “His temperatures remain normal since then.” I know you said the numbers have ranged a little bit, but can we just have the most updated number? The most updated temperature from today that the president was experiencing? What temperature did he record this morning?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (45:55)
I don’t know that. What I will say is that his temperatures have always been in the normal range. Again, he’s getting his vitals checked several times a day. The highest temperatures he’s had so far is 99.4. That was the temperature from last evening which, again, in my 20-plus years of clinical experience, I would never call an elevated temperature. Certainly not a fever. All of his vital signs, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen, temperature, have all been in the normal range every time he’s had them checked.

Speaker 9: (46:27)
Understood. 99.4 isn’t considered a fever based off CDC guidance. But Dr. O’Connor still said his temperature has remained normal since then, since he recorded 99.4 degree temperature. If he’s saying normal since then, that would indicate that it was not in the normal range. How did he describe it?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (46:46)
I talked to Dr. O’Connor about this and did not … basically about the president. Often in clinical practice, especially when you have somebody who’s infected and you’re reporting on that person, you often report that person’s highest temperature. We call it the TMAX or maximum temperature of the last 24 hours. That is what Dr. O’Connor was doing in that moment. He was reporting the highest temperature that the president has had, which turns out to be in the normal range. So that his highest temperature in the last 24 hours, or since he got infected, or since he’s been known to be infected, has been 99.4 and has remained in the normal range. You can read that in two different ways if we try to parse. It was in the normal range and has remained in the normal range since then.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (47:32)
Look, we can try to parse out the words. The bottom line is, the president’s doing better. His vitals are normal. You all saw him. His appetite is good. He’s doing pretty well. Thank goodness, by the way. We’re all thrilled. I suspect you’re all thrilled. I know the American people are relieved. This is all good. The president is doing better. He’s obviously going to be continued to be monitored. He’s going to remain in isolation. He’ll get tested once he’s …

Dr. Ashish Jha: (48:03)
He’s going to remain in isolation. He’ll get tested once he’s done with his isolation period, but the big picture point here is the president is doing better today than he was yesterday. And yesterday he had mild symptoms. Today’s feeling even a little bit better. He’s doing well.

Speaker 9: (48:15)
Just want another clarify. I understand there’s been questions about Dr. O’Connor, but does the White House plan on making him available for questions, make him available to the public at any point?

Karine: (48:24)
We feel that Dr. O’Connor’s statements and his detailed report, again, on a situation as the doctor just said is mild, very mild. And he’s able to continue to do his work is enough. We have Dr. Zha here who’s a medical doctor who is renowned in this field for COVID, for the COVID response, and what we’ve been seeing for the last 21 months. And so we wanted to make sure we provided that expertise, and that’s what we’re doing. And again, Dr. O’Connor is providing detailed information on the president’s physical health at this time.

Speaker 9: (49:05)
Absolutely appreciate the letter. You don’t think there would be additional value even just for assuring the public and giving the press the opportunity to ask to follow up questions [inaudible 00:49:13] directly?

Karine: (49:13)
No, I hear you. We are assuring the public. We’ve been here now, I don’t know, 45 minutes talking to all of you. We were here an hour talking to all of you, answering questioned, fielding questions, and to be quite honest, we don’t believe, and Dr. O’Connor believes, there’s nothing more that he could add to what’s already in his report. And so again, we’re going to keep that commitment and providing information every day, a detailed, detailed information from Dr. O’Connor. We’ve answered this question many times, so [inaudible 00:49:48] let’s give your other colleagues-

Speaker 9: (49:51)
[inaudible 00:49:51] Secret service question. The secret services record keeping is obviously in the news, particularly around January 6th. This is also a cyber security agency as well. I know that, I’m not asking a question about specific allegations, but does the president think that a federal agency should have a system that purges texts including around for employees that have a sensitive job, such as protecting the former president of the United States.

Karine: (50:17)
Of course, we believe in the following of the public records rules. That is something that we believe that should be done, should be followed. I will say this, because this is, I think, important. The president has confidence in the men and women who protect, not just him, but also his family.

Speaker 10: (50:38)
You mentioned how the president is feeling better today, but he still sounded a little more hoarse during his remarks. Is that. At all, any sort of cause of concern? Or is that just kind of…

Dr. Ashish Jha: (50:50)
I don’t know if any of you’ve ever had a cold or a viral syndrome. I find that when I’ve had it in the past, sometimes I start feeling better, but my voice sounds a little bit raspier. I think that’s what you heard today. When we spoke to him, he was energetic. He’s got a pretty packed schedule. He’s clearly feeling better. He says he’s feeling better, and he’s got this cough. And what happens when you get cough is after a while, your voice can get a little bit hoarse, and I suspect that’s what’s going on here.

Speaker 10: (51:20)
I just have one more clarifying question on the president’s temperature last night. Was it taken as part of routine? Or was it taken because of some discomfort as you had mentioned earlier?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (51:31)
No, it was just taken part of his routine vitals.

Speaker 10: (51:35)

Press 4: (51:36)
[inaudible 00:51:36] This can be for either of you or both of you. In the conversations that you’ve had with the president, has he expressed any regrets about the recent mitigation or protocols he’s taken in the last two weeks, say? Regrets about not wearing a mask at some point or somewhere he went that he… Why he got COVID? Has he said anything like that?

Karine: (51:54)
You know the president. The president likes to interact and engage with the American public. What you’ve seen the last couple weeks, the last several months, I would argue the last several years is Joe Biden being Joe Biden. And the reason why he has done the work that he has done since he walked into this administration on making sure that there is a comprehensive COVID response, making sure there’s vaccines, making sure there’s boosters, making sure there’s Paxlovid so that people are getting the treatment that the president is getting right now, currently, is so that we can get back close to normal. We’re getting there. And this is part of his job is to interact with the public, is interact with everyday people. So he does not regret that.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (52:39)
And let me just add that exactly as Karine said, we’ve heard nothing to that effect. [inaudible 00:52:47] Really there’s a broader, important point, which is I find partly because I’ve been so involved and so identified with COVID over the last two years. A lot of people call me when they get a positive diagnosis, and they say, I’m sorry, I failed. It’s not a failure. There’s not a moral failure. This is not a problem. Look, it’s a very contagious virus. It’s widespread. People will get infected. We should be doing things as a country, we have a whole set of policies that recommend to try to keep infection numbers down. But the key is to try to continue to protect people from serious illness. That’s what we’ve done with the president. That’s what we have available for every American. And that’s I think the most important point.

Press 4: (53:29)
And one more. You’ve mentioned a couple times today that the president has said he’s working eight hours a day. Obviously, he said he’s sleeping, and you didn’t want to call him this morning. Can you just give us a little sense of what else he’s doing when he’s not working those eight hours, when he is not sleeping? The first lady’s not here right now. How else is he spending his time? [inaudible 00:53:49]

Karine: (53:49)
Eight plus hours, that is pretty busy for someone who is mild symptoms with a virus. Look, the president is always working. He can work from anywhere.

Press 4: (54:05)
[inaudible 00:54:05].

Karine: (54:05)
No, I’m getting there. I’m getting there, Karen. I’m getting there. I’m getting there. And so, look, I asked him if he watched the January 6th public hearing. He said he caught some of it. So, that is something that you can see that he was doing last night. But he wakes up in the morning, and he gets to work. It is, as you know, a big job being the President of the United States, being the Commander in Chief. So he is doing everything that he would’ve done if he was in the Oval Office, except right now he is in the White House residence. Besides the fact that he is doing this in the residence, there’s not much difference. He is working those long hours, trying to deliver for the American public.

Speaker 11: (54:49)
Follow up to that question. Should the president work more now, or should we work less? Should he now rest now during this time, because I see the White House is starting to show how the president is working hard, he’s doing great, videos, but is he not supposed to rest more right now?

Karine: (55:09)
Well, that’s something for you.

Dr. Ashish Jha: (55:11)
Yeah. I mean, I think in general, it’s good for people to rest when they get infections. But the bottom line is, as president, has a big agenda, and he has a lot that he wants to do, and he sets his schedule of work. As I said here yesterday, I think it’s important when people get sick as a broader policy matter, I think it’s important as a physician for people feel to get rest people, to be able to get time off. But the president right now feels well enough to continue working. And he has continued to work at a brisk pace. As a physician, I will always encourage people to get more rest. But the president is doing the work of the American people.

Speaker 11: (55:52)
Karine, on the US Africa Summit that the president announced this week, can you talk a little bit about that? How many people? Who will be invited, and what’s the process of selecting people? Will human rights play a key role? If yes, how do you contrast that to the president trip to Saudi Arabia?

Karine: (56:14)
So I’ll say this, the president is very much looking forward to meeting with African leaders who will be here at the end of this year. There’s a lot to discuss. There will be a lot on the agenda, and it is going to be his first time meeting with leaders. We will have more to share. I don’t have more details to share at this time on who was invited, and the process, and what’s going to be on the agenda. As you imagine, there’s still a few more months before we get there. And so we’ll be happy to share more and have background calls and provide all the details to that, once we get closer.

Speaker 11: (56:53)
Dr. [inaudible 00:56:54] just a follow-up on Nancy’s question. What is a normal blood oxygen level for someone of the president’s age and that had a past history and sometimes has to use an inhaler?

Dr. Ashish Jha: (57:05)
So age is not a determinant of oxygen level, and somebody who’s had a past history of asthma or occasionally has reactive airway disease also should not be a determinative oxygen level. I have to tell you, I can’t remember off the top of my head what the CDC defines as the exact normal range. It’s in the nineties, but I’d have to just sort of look up. But his has been consistently in the normal range.

Speaker 11: (57:31)
And Karine. Sorry. Okay. Would you guys commit to having Dr. O’Connor put in some of these vitals so that we can stop asking, pestering you guys with those questions. We appreciate the daily letter, but especially his oxygen level, as someone who had COVID twice. I know how important that is.

Karine: (57:46)
That is going to be something up to the doctor and the president. I can’t make any commitments on that. Again, we believe we have been providing detailed information on the… Got to remember the president is having very mild symptoms. The president is feeling better. He is improving. We are giving more information on a president that’s having very mild symptoms than any other president. We are being as transparent as we are here today. We’re going to take like one more question, because we have been standing here for about an hour taking and fielding questions, and you’re going to continue to hear from Dr. O’Connor via his letter. We’re going to take one last question.

Speaker 12: (58:36)
One on the economy if you don’t mind.

Karine: (58:38)
Oh my goodness.

Speaker 12: (58:38)
This next week’s a very big week for the economy. So I read the CEEA blog, is the White House trying to change the common definition of a recession, because next Thursday the GDP numbers coming out are going to show that we’ve been in recession?

Karine: (58:50)
So let me say this, the strength of our labor market along with the other economic factors is not what we generally see in a recession or even a pre-recession, because we’re seeing the strength of the economy and the labor market. So that’s really important to note there, because those are key elements as we talk about that, as folks keep asking us about that. So Americans across the country are back to work at a historic level. 21 states, the most in history, have unemployment rates at, or below 3%. That is an important number to note. 14 states are now at their lowest unemployment rates since this series began in 1976. And last month, the unemployment rate was a new low in eight state. So again, the strength of our labor market along with the economic indicators is not what we generally see as we talk about recession or even pre-recession.

Speaker 12: (59:53)
But the growth of the job for the three months trend, the growth of job growth in the US is shrinking, is decreasing, and 7.5 million people, a growing number are multi jobs. May have to work more than one job to afford a living. So is jobs really a good indicator?

Karine: (01:00:06)
Look, here’s what I would say. We’ve always talked about the strength of our economy. We’ve always talked about how historic it’s been, and we’ve always talked about the transitioning. The transitioning to more stable and steady growth. And so to your point about the job growth there, this is what we have been kind of stating for the past several months. Look, the economy created 1.1 million jobs in the second quarter. And around 375 jobs per month, those are historic numbers. Those are, if you think about the 1.1 million jobs, we are back to where we were at pre-pandemic levels. So that is what we see as strength of the economy. Again, we’re going to transition into a more stable and steady growth. And so we’re going to continue the work that the president has set out to do to make sure that we continue to deliver for the American people when it comes to the economy. All right, folks, thank you so much.

Speaker 13: (01:01:05)
[inaudible 01:01:05].

Speaker 14: (01:01:05)
Thank you, everybody.

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