Apr 30, 2021
White House COVID-19 Task Force, Dr. Fauci Press Conference Transcript April 30
Dr. Fauci, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, and members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team & Task Force held a press briefing on April 30, 2021. Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Thank you for joining us. Today, Dr. Walensky will provide an update on the state of the pandemic. Dr. Fauci will highlight the latest science. And Dr. Murphy will share an update on our efforts to strengthen confidence in the vaccines. First, I want to start by recapping what we’ve accomplished in the first 100 days through our whole of government response that is treating the battle against the virus like the war that it is.
We beat the president’s aggressive goal of 200 million shots in his first 100 days, delivering more than 220 million shots in arms. 220 million shots in 100 days. That’s a level of vaccinations no one expected us to reach this quickly. By the end of May, we’ll have enough vaccine supply for every adult American. In fact, just this week, we shipped our 300 millionth dose to states, tribes, territories, and federal channels. 300 million doses shipped, an important marker of progress. Thanks to our accelerated vaccination program, we are far ahead of where anyone thought we would be in our war against the virus. Everyone 16 and over is eligible. And with 90% of Americans living within five miles of a vaccination site, it’s never been easier to get a shot.
As the president has said, this is an American achievement, an achievement we can all take great pride in, an achievement that should give every American confidence and hope. Going forward in this next phase of our vaccination program, we continue to be laser focused on getting more and more Americans vaccinated. As I said last week, given that we’ve succeeded in getting vaccinations to the lion share of those most at risk and those most eager to get vaccinated, we are now increasingly focused on other groups that will take time to reach. And we expect the number of shots administered each day to moderate and fluctuate. That said we will continue to vaccinate millions of Americans each and every day. This past week, our average was 2.6 million shots per day. Overall, as you can see on our vaccination progress report, 55% of adult Americans now have at least one shot. That’s up from 38% at the end of March and 19% at the end of February.
Looking at the next slide, you see that today we reached a major milestone on the number of Americans who are fully vaccinated. Today, 100 million Americans are fully vaccinated, nearly double the 55 million who were fully vaccinated at the end of March. That’s 100 million, nearly 40% of all adult Americans who are now fully vaccinated with protection from COVID-19 two weeks after getting their last shot. That’s 100 million Americans with a sense of relief and peace of mind, knowing that after a long and hard year, they’re protected from the virus, knowing their decision to get vaccinated protects not just themselves, but also protects their families, their friends, and their communities. 100 million Americans who can follow the new CDC guidance released this week and enjoy going to the park with their family, dining and socializing with their friends outside, and many more outdoor activities without needing to wear a mask.
So over 300 million doses shipped, 220 million shots in arms, 100 million fully vaccinated individuals. This represents significant progress and calls for hope. We know we have more work to do. And in the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue building on the progress we made in our first 100 days. As I laid out last week in this next phase of our vaccination program with everyone 16 over eligible, we will focus on vaccinating millions of Americans each and every day, continuing to improve access and make it an even easier for everyone to get vaccinated, strengthening confidence in the vaccine, by getting Americans facts and answering their questions, and ensuring equity is at the center of everything we do so we can reach everyone in our response.
We know it won’t be easy, but neither was getting 220 million shots in arms in just 100 days. And together we did it. We’ve seen what America is capable of when we come together and all of us do our part. With that, over to Dr. Walensky. Dr. Walensky?
Dr. Walensky: (09:15)
Good morning, and thank you so much. I’m pleased to be back with you today. We’ll start with an overview of the data. Yesterday, CDC reported over 53,000 new cases of COVID-19. Our seven day average is about 52,500 daily cases. This represents a decrease of about 16% from our prior seven day average. The seven day average of hospital admissions is just over 5,050. Again, a positive sign with a decrease of almost 10% from our previous seven days. And the seven day average of daily deaths has also declined to 628 per day, a decrease of about 8%.
Dr. Walensky: (09:55)
In addition to these positive trends, I’d like to share with you another exciting piece of news about vaccines. Earlier this week, CDC released a study examining the real world effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID 19 vaccines. This study looked at hospitalization rates among people over the age of 65 and found that fully vaccinated seniors were 94% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 then those who are unvaccinated. Importantly, this study was done in a high risk population. Those over 65, who have endured a tremendous burden during this pandemic. This is yet another piece of great news that our vaccines are working to prevent severe disease. I’d also like to take a look back on the last 100 days of work we’ve done to closely monitor COVID-19 variants. As we know, the more virus and viral replication, the virus has more chances to mutate, and this means additional opportunities for variant to evolve. This is why we often describe our-
Dr. Walensky: (11:03)
Variants to evolve. This is why we often describe our vaccine efforts here in the United States as a race against the virus. How quickly can we vaccinate Americans to prevent further spread of the virus and the potential for new and more concerning variants to emerge?
Dr. Walensky: (11:19)
Genomic sequencing is a laboratory method that identifies mutations or changes in the virus that contribute to the emergence of new variants. Taken together, genomic sequencing of many virus samples allows us to understand the prevalence of variants in circulation.
Dr. Walensky: (11:35)
Over the past hundred days, CDC has dramatically built up our domestic genomic surveillance platforms to improve our visibility of circulating variants. Since January, CDC has increased the nation’s sequencing outputs 75 fold.
Dr. Walensky: (11:55)
On January 25th, CDC ramped up the national SARS-CoV2 strain surveillance system, or N23, to begin requesting 750 specimens weekly from 64 public health jurisdictions for sequencing, virus isolation and characterization.
Dr. Walensky: (12:15)
In addition, CDC awarded multiple sequencing contracts to rapidly increase the number of specimens sequenced per week, going from 6,000 per week in January, to more than 22,000 per week in April.
Dr. Walensky: (12:29)
Combined with the sequencing efforts of state and local public health laboratories, as well as our collaborations with academic institutions, the United States is now sequencing nearly 8% of the approximately 450,000 COVID-19 cases weekly. With our current capacity and our cases across the nation coming down, we are on our way to sequencing even higher percentage of cases, which I consider a tremendous accomplishment.
Dr. Walensky: (12:57)
CDC has made significant strides to make our genomics surveillance data more accessible to the public through an interactive dashboard on our COVID data tracker website. This site is updated weekly with the prevalence of SARS-CoV2 variants at the national, regional and state levels.
Dr. Walensky: (13:17)
We look forward to continued advancement in this area with the additional investments made by the American Rescue Plan, which provided $1.7 billion to strengthen and expand much needed activities and workforce related to genomic sequencing, genomic epidemiology, analytics, and disease surveillance.
Dr. Walensky: (13:37)
From a global perspective, CDC is also supporting sequencing capacity in more than 50 countries, such as India, Brazil, and South Africa. This support includes defining standardized approaches, providing technical assistance to investigate variants, and coordinating with the broader research community.
Dr. Walensky: (13:57)
As we mark 100 days of this administration, I am proud that we have collaborated with numerous partners to expand genomic sequencing, and what all of that means, not only to America, but to our global efforts to end this pandemic. This work has made us better prepared for the threat of SARS-CoV2 variants, helped us better understand, identify and track the virus, and given us more tools to take actions that protect the American people and people around the world.
Dr. Walensky: (14:27)
There is more work to be done, but over the past 100 days, we have ramped up our capacity to understand the virus circulating in our midst, and with 100 million Americans fully vaccinated as of today, we continue to move ahead in our progress to end this pandemic.
Dr. Walensky: (14:44)
Thank you very much. I’ll now turn things over to Dr. Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (14:49)
Thank you very much, Dr. Walensky. If we could move to the next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (14:56)
Yesterday, Tara Parker Pope in The New York Times wrote an article addressing the issue does it matter if one skips the second COVID shot? So I’d like to spend just the next couple of minutes addressing this issue, because now, about 8% of people estimated have not showed up for their second shot of a two-shot regimen, i.e. the mRNA regimen. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (15:24)
But if you compare this to other real world uptake of vaccines that have been around for a while, this report came out a week ago in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics looking at the zoster vaccine in the United States over a two year period from 2017 to 2019. And note on the second bullet, it’s a two-dose vaccine with the doses becoming two and six months after the first dose. 70 to 80% of individuals completed the series, which means that 20 to 30% have not.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (16:01)
So, thus far, the 8%, though you’d like to see 100% adherence, 8% is within the realm of what you see with other multidose vaccines. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (16:12)
So let’s take a quick look at what the guidelines are that we know about the administration. The Pfizer-BioNTech, it gets a single dose, and 21 days later, you get the boost. For Moderna, it’s 28 days. But as the CDC has said, if it’s not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, and in the real world, there are many reasons why this might not be feasible, the second dose may be scheduled for administration up to six weeks or 42 days after the first dose. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (16:49)
So why is there some uncertainty about the importance of second doses when you talk to people and ask their opinion? Well, about 44% of adults reported that the vaccines provided strong protection by one to two weeks after the second dose. So 44% of people are on board clearly with the second dose. 20% believe that the vaccines provide strong protection before the second dose, and 36% in a recent survey were unsure. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (17:25)
So let’s take a look at the results both clinically and from a laboratory standpoint about the efficacy of the first dose versus following the second dose. So this is a study that was recently published in the New England Journal of medicine on the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA in a nationwide mass vaccination setting in Israel. Look at the column on the left. When you look at both infection, symptomatic hospitalization or severe disease, although there is a significant degree of protection after the first dose, look at the difference between the first and the second dose, 46 versus 92, 57 versus 94, et cetera, et cetera. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (18:17)
This is the study that Dr. Walensky just mentioned a moment ago. When you look at individuals 65 years of age or older, where you had an extraordinarily good effectiveness in fully vaccinated seniors at 94%, as she mentioned, but look at the partially vaccinated people. Again, a reasonable amount of protection, but not nearly as much as you get from the two doses. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (18:47)
Here again is a study I showed you at a previous briefing from employees at the University of Texas Southwestern. Again, the unvaccinated, when you look at the percent of infections there, they did not do well. You do much better if you’re partially vaccinated, but there’s a 36 fold difference of getting fully vaccinated versus partially vaccinated. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (19:17)
Now, when you look at the immune response to a single dose of mRNA vaccines in organ transplant or cancer patients, and very, very clearly, the single dose was not adequate. This becomes really important because organ transplant, particularly individuals on a variety of immunosuppressive drugs, and cancer patients, but there are a lot of people in society who are on things like gluco corticoids for auto-immune diseases that may not get a good enough response after the first dose and we absolutely want them to get the second dose. So very quickly, let’s look at some of the data that backs up this clinical. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (20:01)
I showed you this slide before. This is the Pfizer-BioNTech, and we’re here looking at neutralizing antibodies after the first dose, which is at the 21 day, versus the second dose, which is at day 28 to 35. As you could see, regardless of the age, younger individuals or older individuals, a dramatic difference in neutralizing antibodies between the first and the second dose. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (20:31)
We often talk about T-cell responses. The same thing. If you look at after the first dose, namely at day 29 on the Th1 responses to the spike protein, and you look at the responses at day 29 versus day 43, which is after the second dose, yet again, another important difference. Next slide.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (20:57)
And then when you look here at the neutralization, after the second dose of Pfizer, when you’re looking at variants, so concentrate on the blue shaded area, so if you look at one dose two weeks, and then three weeks after the one dose, and look at the effect. So if there are 15 vaccinees on the left, about a third of them had a good response against the 614, which is the standard virus. It got less when you did B17, and nothing against 351.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (21:33)
At week three, it got a little bit better. You had more against 614, more against B17, but still nothing against 351, but after the second dose, both week four and week six, look at the dramatic difference, not only against the standard wild type, but also against the one that we have in this country that’s dominant, B17, but also look at now the presence of neutralizing-
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (22:03)
So look at now the presence of neutralizing antibodies in vitro against the 351 or South African isolate. Again, a much, much better advantage for the second dose. So finally, on the last slide, what can we do to help people get that second dose on time? Scheduling followup visits before or during the first dose, reschedule, cancel clinics and send reminders. Bottom line of my message, A, get vaccinated, and if you’re having a two dose regimen, make sure you get that second dose. Now passing it over to Dr. Murthy.
Dr. Murthy: (22:44)
Well, thank you so much, Dr. Fauci. And it’s good to be with all of you again this morning. As we pass our 100 days and mark and mark over 143 million people who are vaccine with the least one dose, I want to share a little bit more about how we’re thinking about our work ahead. To help people protect themselves and the people they love, requires us not only to build confidence in vaccines, but to mobilize people to get vaccinated and to make sure people have easy access to vaccines. Now tracking vaccine confidence is nuanced, but there are two realities that remain true. First, the surveys and studies continue to show us that since the winter, a growing share of people in our country have gotten or plan to get vaccinated, and we’ve come a long way since the end of last year.
Dr. Murthy: (23:29)
Second, we know, not only from the data, but from conversations with community members and leaders, that there are still people who have questions and want more information about vaccines, and that’s why we’re continuing to grow the scope and reach of our COVID-19 Community Corps, which you’ll remember is a nationwide grassroots network of health professionals, community organizations, rural union and faith leaders, and Americans from all walks of life who share a commitment to protecting their communities by helping people get vaccinated.
Dr. Murthy: (23:59)
This morning I want to highlight for you several more stories that we’ve heard about the work from a few of those organizations. One of our organizations, [Access 00:24:09] has set up vaccination clinics in Sterling Heights in Dearborn, Michigan, where they are averaging hundreds of vaccines administered daily, they’re forming community focus groups, which include primarily people of east Asian descent and people from Poland, Ukraine and Sikh communities to address root causes of lower vaccine confidence and address questions.
Dr. Murthy: (24:29)
Another organization, [Peletah Ministries 00:24:31] is working with a large network of churches in Eastern North Carolina. Peletah Ministries was founded to assist in disaster recovery following Hurricane Irene, and today, the organization is engaging older adults by answering their questions about vaccines, dispelling myths, and helping administer vaccines when their seniors are ready to get it.
Dr. Murthy: (24:52)
The UFW Foundation, which is also a Community Corps member is focusing on vaccinating, farm workers and their families. The organization has coordinated community vaccine events that have provided thousands of vaccine doses to farm workers. They’ve established a national hotline to support farm workers with the appointment registration. And the team is also engaging farm workers on the ground in six states to spread factual scientific information.
Dr. Murthy: (25:18)
Finally, I want to share with you that Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has created DC’s own COVID-19 Community Corps, the DC Corps will be launched this Saturday May 1st as part of a Day of Action and has enlisted hundreds of volunteers to canvas neighborhoods and help residents make a plan to get vaccinated. The Day of Action coincides with the [inaudible 00:25:42] walkup sites open across the city, so the residents will be able to head straight to a vaccination site to get a free vaccine. If you’re in DC and want to get involved in the Day of Action, you can find more information at bit.ly/dayofactiondc.
Dr. Murthy: (25:57)
Now these are a few of the thousands of organizations that have joined the growing movement to vaccinate the nation. The Community Core is ultimately built on a simple but powerful idea that protecting the nation from COVID-19, it requires individuals and communities to take action, not just the government and everyday Americans, community organizations and businesses have risen to the challenge. And what that means is family members and friends helping each other make a plan to get vaccinated. It means doctors and nurses reaching out to their patients to answer questions and urge them to get vaccinated. It means faith leaders recognizing how easily rumors can spread and reaching out to their congregants with the truth about vaccines. It means social media companies taking responsibility for promoting accurate content and removing all blatant misinformation as well as more subtle, yet highly targeted misinformation. And it means workplaces giving employees paid time off when needed to get vaccinated or to recover from temporary flu like symptoms. This is a step by the way, that is now easier given the tax credit that President Biden announced for small businesses to provide such time off.
Dr. Murthy: (27:06)
Ultimately, our national COVID 19 response is in many ways a test of whether we will answer this moment with the spirit of community that has always been at the heart of our country’s response to generational threats, and I believe that we will respond. Thank you for your time today, and I look forward to your questions.
Well, thank you doctors. Let’s now open it up for questions. First question.
Speaker 1: (27:32)
[inaudible 00:27:32]. Reminder, one question, one person. First, we’ll go to Nate Weixel at The Hill.
Nate Weixel: (27:38)
Hi, thanks for taking my question. I’m wondering a little bit about these efforts to sort of decrease hesitation, combat misinformation. How much extra effort would you say you’re sort of putting into some of the misinformation efforts out there? I know Dr. Fauci was out answering questions about Joe Rogan this week, I mean, how much does that play in to helping solve hesitation and how much is that sort of a distraction?
Speaker 1: (28:09)
Dr. Murthy: (28:13)
And sir, could you repeat the tail end of your question? I want to make sure I’m clear on the end.
Nate Weixel: (28:20)
Yeah. It was just, how much is that helping to solve hesitation versus how much is it sort of just a distraction and taking away from other work that’s happening?
Dr. Murthy, Combating misinformation is the core of the question?
Dr. Murthy: (28:33)
Yeah. Look, I think that ultimately we know that people have questions for multiple reasons sometimes because there is misinformation that they’ve encountered, sometimes because they’ve had a bad experience with the healthcare system and they’re wondering who to trust. And some people have just heard lots of different news as we continue to get updates on the vaccine and they want to hear from someone they trust. That’s why our efforts are focused on mobilizing trusted messengers, which include doctors and nurses, faith leaders, and family members to get information out to people. But just keep in mind that for people to get vaccinated they need confidence, they need to know that this is urgent and important and they need access. And that’s why we are working hard on all three fronts.
Speaker 1: (29:18)
Kristen Welker, NBC.
Kristen Welker: (29:22)
Hi everyone, thanks so much for doing this call. My big picture question is, to what extent are you concerned that people are loosening restrictions too quickly? Clearly there have been significant gains, I’m thinking about specifically New York announcing that it’s reopening July 1st. Is that too soon or is that right on time? I’m also thinking about the images we saw last night with the NFL Draft, hundreds of people in close quarters, I know they’d been vaccinated and tested, but was that safe? Is that too many people?
Well, let me start. And then Dr. Walensky or Dr. Fauci, if you want to add anything here. I think situations clearly vary by state. We are encouraged that states are focused on getting people vaccinated, that’s the most important area of focus, as we all know that vaccinations and getting as many Americans facts vaccinated as efficiently and equitably as possible is our path to returning to a more normal lifestyle. Dr. Walensky or Dr. Fauci, anything to add here?
Dr. Walensky : (30:29)
I don’t have that much to add. I will just say that we were focused on getting people vaccinated and decreasing the case rates. If we can continue at this pace, case rates are coming down, vaccinations going up, then I think July 1, would be a reasonable target.
Okay, next question.
Speaker 1: (30:48)
Yamiche Alcindor at PBS.
Yamiche Alcindor: (30:54)
Thanks so much for taking my question. I’m wondering about the dwindling demand for vaccines. We’re seeing some of that according to local reporting in California and in Ohio, how close are we to hitting a vaccine plateau? What would that even look like? And what’s the strategy if we do start to hit a vaccine plateau?
So as I said, we’re giving millions of shots per day. And as a result, you saw the data that we’ve already delivered, at least one shot to 55% of adult Americans, and then today’s major milestone of a hundred million adult Americans fully vaccinated. It’s not unexpected as we entered this next phase, that there will be more of a balance between supply and demand, and that makes it even more important that we make it easier for people to get vaccinated. That we continue, as Dr. Murphy’s talked about to build vaccine confidence and ensure equity.
I think what is unexpected is how fast we’ve gotten here. We know this next phase won’t be easy, but neither was getting to 220 million shots in arms in the first hundred days. And I think it’s why the infrastructure that we’ve built, having enough, supply enough places for people to get vaccinated, enough vaccinators in the field is so important as we build on those efforts of having 75,000 sites where people can get vaccinated and thousands of vaccinators now online, 90% of Americans within five miles. So this next phase is very focused on making it even easier, continuing to build vaccine confidence and ensuring equity for all Americans. Next question.
Dr. Murthy: (32:42)
Dr. Murthy: (32:42)
Jeff, can I just add piece of advice also, which is, I completely agree with what Jeff said. And I don’t think it’s a surprise that we knew that it wasn’t going be easy to vaccinate the entire country. And as obstacles come up, though, we continue to work together with communities to knock them down. But I also want to be very clear that at this point that the…
Dr. Murthy: (33:03)
But I also want to be very clear that at this point, that the effort to vaccinate America and to protect our nation from COVID 19 is a collaborative effort. We need, certainly, the government to take action but we know that we can’t get there also to fully protecting our country until individuals and communities and community organizations and businesses are all working together hand in hand to make that a vaccination effort possible. And many already are stepping up. But this is one of these all hands on deck moments. When each of us needs to look around in our communities and our families and our circle of friends and ask people if they have a plan to get vaccinated. And if they don’t have a plan, we need to ask them to do they need information, to help them get information. If they need help make an appointment, you need to help them make an appointment. It’s only by stepping up, all of us, in our own roles in society that we’re going to ultimately protect the country. And the government should make it as easy as possible, which is why we’re so focused on access, getting accurate information out there. But again, this is an all hands on deck effort where we’ve all got a chip in.
Well said, Dr. Murthy, next question.
Speaker 2: (34:04)
Rachel Roubein, Politico.
Rachel Roubein: (34:10)
Hi. I just wanted to drill down a little bit more into that. So we are seeing a growing gap in vaccine rates, both between states and within states where certain communities and counties still have fewer than 20% of their population vaccinated. You guys have talked about the community core, but what new actions is the White House to take in to kind of address this growing gap? And specifically, how is the strategy evolving here?
Why don’t I go first and then Dr. Murthy, if you want to add on here. In this next phase, we’re making it even easier for people to get vaccinated. Partnering with doctor’s offices, where people are accustomed to getting vaccinations. And 90% of doctors have gotten at least their first dose of vaccine and people locally trust and look to their doctors and nurses and other healthcare providers. Helping get workers paid time off, as Dr. Murthy’s talked about the action the president took last week to make sure that small businesses have tax credits to allow employees to have time off to both get vaccinated and to recover if need be. Setting up walkup sites so that you can have a certain number of people each day with no appointment show up and just get vaccinated, making it increasingly convenient.
Dr. Murthy, you might want to expand in terms of new confidence efforts that you’re helping to lead here.
Dr. Murthy: (35:45)
Absolutely. Well, I would just say that we are continuing to expand the breadth of organizations and individuals who are part of our community core recognizing exactly what you said. That if we really want to reach all parts of America, rural, urban, and people of all age demographics, we’ve got to reflect the diversity of our country and the diversity of partners that we have as well.
Dr. Murthy: (36:07)
I want to underscore though the point that Jeff made about working with doctors and with other healthcare providers. That we know that around 80% of people who are trying to decide about a vaccine, say that they want to talk to their doctor about that decision. And we’ve heard that loud and clear, and that’s why we not only want to engage with doctors, make sure they’re talking to their patients, but we also want to make it easier for people to ultimately get a vaccine through their doctor. And there’ll be more to say about that initiative in the days ahead, but that is a channel that we’re certainly working on in close partnership with physicians, with other healthcare providers and with medical organizations.
Speaker 2: (36:49)
Jeremy Diamond, CNN.
Jeremy Diamond: (36:54)
Hey guys, thanks very much. So more than a dozen countries have either banned or restricted travel from India at this point. Why hasn’t the President taken any of those steps so far? And is the administration currently considering a ban on travel from India? And then secondly, I’m just wondering this morning we saw the First Lady outdoors wearing a mask, even though she’s vaccinated, the President yesterday said he would need to wear a mask if he was sitting close to someone indoors, even if they’re both vaccinated, which goes against CDC guidance. And so given that the President focused on modeling the best public health advice when masks were required, why isn’t he doing more to show the country what you can do once you are vaccinated? Thanks.
So in terms of travel from India, we remain in very close contact with our foreign counterparts and are continuously monitoring the situation. Our current inbound travel precautions and mandatory testing before travel the quarantine for unvaccinated individuals and the retesting during that quarantine period, those are all in place for all international travel and have been effective. Getting Americans vaccinated is the most effective tool that we have against COVID. And we’ll continue to follow the CDC science-based guidance on travel and other matters. Dr. Walensky I don’t know if you have anything to add here.
Dr. Walensky: (38:17)
No, nothing to add.
Okay. Next question.
Speaker 2: (38:25)
Zeke Miller, AP.
Zeke Miller: (38:28)
Thanks for doing this. First, a quick point of information, when you say a hundred million Americans are fully vaccinated. That just means they’ve gotten their second dose, if they have acquired a two dosed vaccine, that doesn’t mean that they’re two weeks past that dose which is [crosstalk 00:38:39]-
That is correct Zeke that’s why it was clear that everyone needs to make sure that they follow that two week post. But now the a hundred million Americans have received their second shot if they’re on a two shot regimen or their one shot of their on the J&J regimen.
Zeke Miller: (38:52)
Thank you. And then just following up on Dr. Walensky’s point earlier about New York, that July 1st is sort of a reasonable timetable assuming the current trend lines are continued. Can you explain, Dr. Walensky, sort of what would be possible or sort of now seems likely on July 1st, then New York’s go to a hundred percent capacity at that restaurants and bars and arenas and the like, will masks still be required indoors? Can you sort of lay out a little bit, sort of two months from now rather, well what should the American people sort of hope for?
Dr. Walensky: (39:25)
What I’d like to do is sort of say the more people are vaccinated the fewer cases that we have and as we see those numbers come down, we’ll take increased steps as we have. Until now we’ve had three updated guidances of what you can do if you’re fully vaccinated and we look forward to more as more and more people get vaccinated. This virus has tricked us before, so I would like to sort of watch and see how it goes before making further estimations of what happens in a couple of months.
Good. Next question.
Speaker 2: (39:57)
Last question. Let’s go to Meg Tirrell at CNBC.
Meg Tirrell: (40:01)
Well, thanks so much. I just wanted to follow up on what the administration is doing to counter disinformation. So really stronger on the spectrum of hesitancy. But Peter Hotez wrote an editorial in Nature suggesting that the highest levels of government have to take direct, even confrontational approaches with Russia and move to dismantle anti-vaccine groups in the United States. So really going beyond counter messaging from the global health community and pressure on social media companies. I just wondered what the administration’s sort of stance is on stronger actions like that against a specific disinformation, not just sort of hesitancy in general?
Dr. Murthy, do you want to talk about just positive measures on information and anything you want to say about combating misinformation?
Dr. Murthy: (40:50)
Sure. Well, thank you for that question. I mean, that is such an important issue and we are certainly focused on it in several ways. But the two that I’ll mention is we recognize that misinformation and disinformation thrive in the absence of accurate information. So one of our strategies is to put as much accurate information out there as possible with trusted voices. Not only the people from government, but also reputable medical sources and experts in communities. But we are also working closely with social media companies and other platforms to push them also in partner with them on rooting out active and disinformation campaigns. I said at the top of this presser, that it is all of our responsibilities to step up and to help address this crisis and get people vaccinated. And I specifically mentioned that we need social media companies and platforms to not only put out accurate information, but your root out both blatant and subtle disinformation that’s on their sites. I think that they have work to do. We are certainly here to partner them to get the job done. But clearly we still have way too much disinformation spreading on those sites and it presents a clear and present danger, I believe, to people who need to be protected from COVID and who could potentially get vaccinated.
I want to thank everybody for joining today and we look forward to next week’s briefings. Thank you.