On February 8, 2021, the White House COVID-19 Response Team held a press briefing to provide updates on the Biden administration’s efforts to increase access to vaccines, current infection statistics, and the efficacy of current vaccines against new variants.
Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor to the COVID Response Coordinator, reported that of the over 40 million doses administered, over 17 million have been administered to people 65 or older. Slavitt also announced that the CDC Long-Term Care Program has administered over 4.8 million doses to more than 3.7 million of our most vulnerable. Slavitt also highlighted the Biden administration’s plans to increase vaccine supply with use of the Defense Production Act (DPA), the administration’s plan to create more places for the community to get vaccinated, and the administration’s plan to mobilize more vaccinators.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that an average of 119,900 new cases were reported between January 31 and February 6, a 20 percent drop from the prior week. Hospital admissions averaged 9,977 admissions per day between January 30 and February 5, a 17 percent drop from the prior week. COVID-19 deaths averaged 3,221 per day between January 31 and February 6, a 2.4 percent increase from the prior week. Dr. Walensky also announced that as of February 7, 699 variants of the disease had been confirmed across 34 states. 690 of these variants are attributable to the B117 variant which was first reported in the U.K.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health shared his views on the importance of administering two doses of the two mRNA vaccines, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, despite supply shortages. Dr. Fauci stressed the importance of two doses in providing 94 to 95 percent efficacy and cautioned against the lack of threshold protection if only one dose were to be administered. Additionally, Dr. Fauci stated that the two mRNA vaccines are quite effective against the B117 lineage. He emphasized that the B117 variant is likely to become dominant in the United States by the end of March.
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