tv White House Holds Coronavirus Briefing CSPAN February 22, 2021 7:07pm-8:01pm EST
app. >> with the biden administration now leading the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, follow the latest at c-span.org/coronavirus. search space and -- search c-span's coverage. use the interactive gallery of maps to follow the cases in the u.s. and worldwide. go to c-span.org/coronavirus. >> earlier today, the white house covid-19 response team gave an update on the federal response to the pandemic. members of the team reflected on the u.s. hitting the milestone of 500,000 deaths due to the virus and stressed, even with numbers decreasing, americans should continue to wear masks and social distance. this is 45 minutes. mr. slavitt: i'm starting today on a solemn note as we're nearing 500,000 americans who've lost their lives from covid-19.
to mark this grim milestone, this evening, the president and first lady, along with the vice president and second gentleman, will hold a moment of silence in a ceremony at sundown to honor those who have lost their lives to this pandemic. everyone lost is someone whose life and gifts were cut short. our hearts go out to all of those who are grieving loved ones who are so deeply missed. for those of us in the administration, the occasion makes us more determined to turn the tide on covid-19 so the
losses can subside and the healing can begin. the president has asked us to use every possible resource to make that happen. on friday, i provided an overview of how the extreme weather had impacted our vaccination efforts. and today, i want to give an update on our progress to recover. that progress began as soon as the weather began to improve, thanks to an all-out, round-the-clock effort from our teams and partners. mckesson ran extended shifts saturday and sunday to pack vaccines, and members of the military joined them in their efforts. 70 mckesson employees volunteered to work 1:00 a.m. shifts saturday night, sunday morning to prepare shipments to meet an 11:00 a.m. transit deadline. on sunday, ups extended its onsite trailer time at the mckesson facility in kentucky to allow them to pack hundreds of thousands more doses. thanks to that and many more, those efforts, today alone, we
plan to deliver 7 million doses. this is a combination of catch-up from last week's doses that were delayed from the weather and doses going out as a normal part of today's normal distribution. i reported on friday that we would catch up on deliveries by the end of this week. we now anticipate that all backlog doses will be delivered by midweek. but delivering doses to administration sites is, as we know, only the first step. sites around the country have a significant job ahead of them to quickly vaccinate the public. it will take some time for those sites to catch up. we encourage vaccination sites to follow that same lead of those who are working extended hours to catch up on deliveries by scheduling more appointments to vaccinate the anxious public as quickly as possible.
there are still vaccination sites closed from today's -- from the storm's impact. texas's seven-day average of administered covid-19 doses decreased by 31% in the past week due to winter weather impacts. some houston-area vaccination clinics and testing sites have now reopened. austin public health does not believe reopening is safe at this time but announced that when operations resume, they will include extended hours and additional locations. next, i want to begin to turn to our efforts to educate and communicate with the public about the importance of vaccinations. after all, today's challenge of vaccinating those who are waiting must be accompanied by an equally aggressive effort to reach people who are considering getting vaccinated but haven't yet decided to. we are so fortunate to have highly effective vaccines and safe vaccines, which makes the
conversation with the public a much more straightforward one. so let me tell you a little bit about the three stages of our approach to communication. for the last month, we've been in the first stage of this work. that first stage has entailed a significant number of activities, listening to the public's concerns, hearing from experts, testing how different audiences react to different methods of communication and different messengers, and ensuring that we can provide clear answers that the public deserves. today, we begin a second and more public stage, engagement with key stakeholders. the covid team has begun meeting on an ongoing basis with state and local health leaders, nonprofits, businesses, and unions about the pandemic. we've held more than 100 one-on-one discussions with
these groups and we'll continue this engagement throughout the response. now, to continue to inform our efforts around vaccine confidence, over the next two weeks, the white house, along with cdc and hhs, will host a series of listening sessions with key stakeholder groups. these meetings will be led by dr. nunez-smith, who is leading our equity work. these conversations will focus on how to strengthen vaccine confidence and how to eliminate barriers that underserved communities are facing to vaccinations, like paid leave, transportation, and scheduling. the meetings are kicking off today with a conversation with key leaders in the african american community. and throughout the week, we'll be meeting with latino groups, faith leaders, and members of the rural community. these listening sessions will continue our effort to hear directly from communities who've been hit hardest by this pandemic and help us build
strong partnerships with those who will be key to our efforts to build vaccine confidence and reach everyone in our response. as a part of this effort, beginning today through wednesday, cdc is hosting a national forum on vaccines, where they're bringing together thousands of participants from around the country -- from practitioners to jurisdictions to others working on the ground -- to discuss practical strategies, technical resources, and best practices for vaccination efforts. in a moment, dr. walensky will discuss this. all of that continues our work on not only a whole-of-government response, but to leverage the best existing resources outside of government to end this pandemic as quickly as possible. and our third phase -- the public education campaign -- will be timed for maximum effectiveness and designed based
on both our learnings and take full advantage of the participation of many throughout the country. so with that update, i will turn it over to dr. walensky and then, from there, to dr. fauci. and then we'll take your questions. dr. walensky: thank you, andy. i'm glad to be back with you today. we continue to see trends head in the right direction, but cases, hospital admissions, and deaths remain at very high levels. covid-19 in the united states has been declining for five weeks, with the seven-day average dropping 74 percent since the peak seven-day average on january 11th. the current seven-day average -- approximately 66,000 cases per day -- is similar to that seen during last summer's peak. cases remain significantly elevated. and the seven-day average for new hospital admissions -- 6,500 a day -- reflects a 60 percent decline since the peak seven-day average on january 9, the lowest
seven-day average in new hospital admissions since last fall. the number of reported deaths also continues to decline, with the seven-day average slightly more than 1,900 deaths, dropping 39% compared to the prior seven-day average. this is the lowest since the beginning of december. however, this seven-day average is counterbalanced by the stark reality that this week we will surpass one half million covid-19 deaths in the united states, a truly tragic reminder of the enormity of this pandemic and the loss it has afflicted on our personal lives and our communities. while the pandemic is heading in the right direction, there is still much work to do. one area that is particularly important is getting students back to in-person instructing -- instruction, while protecting teachers, students, and staff. a little more than a week ago, we released our operational strategy for opening
k-through-12 schools. this strategy provides the long-needed, science-based roadmap to help schools open safely and remain open for in-person instruction. since the release of this strategy, we have been working closely with the department of education, public health partners, and education partners, including teachers and other school staff, to increase awareness of the guidance and to support its use in ongoing discussions and planning efforts for school reopenings. the goal is to achieve the reopening of schools safely. in addition, we continue to study covid-19 spread in schools to identify the factors that contribute to outbreaks and steps that can help prevent spread in schools. today, cdc published a concerning report in the morbidity and mortality weekly report that details an investigation of covid-19 spread in eight public elementary schools in a single school district in georgia during a
period of high community spread. in the report, researchers identified nine clusters of covid-19 cases involving 13 educators and 32 students of at least six elementary schools. in two of these clusters, covid-19 was spread first from educator to educator, and then from educator to student. these two clusters accounted for half of all the school-associated cases. across the nine clusters, educators played an important role in the spread of covid-19 in the schools. covid-19 spread often occurred during in-person meetings or lunches and then subsequent spread in classrooms. covid-19 was also spread from student to educator and from student to student, but this occurred less frequently. the two main reasons for the spread of covid-19 in these schools were inadequate physical distancing and mask adherence. in the schools, physical
distancing of at least six feet was not possible because of the high number of students in class, as well as because of classroom layouts. in addition, covid-19 may have spread among educators and students during small group discussions where educators were in close proximity to students. although the school district mandated in-classroom mask wearing except while eating and mask wearing was reportedly high, the study found that there were instances where lack or inadequate mask wearing by students occurred. in these situations, lack of physical distancing likely increased the risk of spread. in addition, students ate lunch in their classrooms, which may have also contributed to spread. these findings underscore the importance of strict mask adherence to the five key layered mitigation strategies outlined in the cdc's k-12 operational strategy. in particular, universal mask wearing, physical distancing of at least six feet, and using
cohorting or podding of students are important to minimize spread throughout the school environment. this is especially true for schools that have high rates of covid-19 in their community. as we have noted, distancing requirements, which we recognize are very challenging, can be relaxed as school -- as community rates come down. it's also worth noting that approximately 60% of close contacts of the cases agreed to be tested for covid-19. and for those who weren't tested, testing took five to seven days -- a delay that makes it incredibly difficult to rapidly contain spread. these findings highlight an additional key mitigation strategy recommended in cdc's school guidance, the need for diagnostic testing, and rapid and efficient contact tracing, in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the health department. the findings also highlight the importance of scaling up vaccination efforts across the country, including the continued
need to prioritize teachers and other school staff for vaccination as part of the frontline essential workers, consistent with the recommendation of the advisory committee on immunization practices. cdc's operational strategy specifically includes vaccination for teachers and school staff as an additional layer of protection that can be added to the five key layered mitigation strategies. finally, i want to emphasize that while cdc's operational strategy does provide for in-person instruction during all levels of community spread, the safest and quickest way to open schools and keep them open is to have as little covid-19 in the community as possible. enabling schools to open and remain open is therefore a shared responsibility. encouragingly, consistent with the recent declines in covid-19 cases in the united states, the percentage of counties with the highest level of covid-19
transmission continue to drop, declining from approximately 90 percent, when we released our school guidance about 10 days ago, to 60 percent, as of yesterday. now, approximately 18% of counties have covid-19 levels at the low or moderate levels with -- that's consistent with full in-person learning for all k-12 schools in cdc's guidance. and 22% are at the substantial level, consistent with hybrid learning or reduced in-person attendance for all k-12 schools. for the 60% of counties that remain in the red zone -- the counties with high transmission -- we encourage at least the k-5 students to return to school in hybrid or reduced in-person attendance, and for middle and high school schools virtually only -- unless they can strictly implement mitigation measures and have few cases. schools that are already open should continue to provide in-person instruction, as long as cases are low and they strictly use mitigation measures to keep them low.
i hope these findings serve as a catalyst to each of us to continue to do our part to drive down the number of cases and reduce the spread of covid-19. i know this is not easy, and so many of us are frustrated with the disruption the pandemic has had on our lives and our children's education. but working together as a nation, we can turn the tide. finally, i want to share some news about our virtual national vaccine forum that kicked off this morning. i'm excited to share that we have over 11,000 participants from 6,000 organizations across all 50 states, nearly all territories, and 128 tribes and tribal organizations. over the next three days, these participants will share information and best practices on how to build trust and confidence in covid-19 vaccines, use data to optimize vaccine implementation, and provide practical, real-world experience on how to increase vaccination capacities in our communities.
i encourage each of you to watch the livestream plenary session throughout the day and get engaged in your community vaccination efforts. before i turn to dr. fauci, i want to reiterate to everyone to continue to do your part to protect yourselves and each other by wearing a well-fitting mask, staying six feet apart from the people you do not live with, avoiding travel and crowds, washing your hands often, and getting vaccinated when the vaccine is available to you. and now i will turn it over to dr. fauci. i look forward to your questions. dr. fauci. dr. fauci: thank you very much, dr. walensky. i'm going to talk for a few minutes today. i'm updating you on where we are on some selected therapeutics for covid-19. so if we can move ahead to my first slide. in general, when one thinks of therapeutics, you think of them as therapeutics for early or moderate disease versus therapeutics for moderate-to-advanced disease. clearly, the strategy early on is to block the replication of
virus and prevent it from going from the upper airway to the lungs and other organ systems. however, we have found, through experience over the past many months, that when one gets advanced disease, the hyper or aberrant inflammatory or immunological response gives as much to the morbidity and mortality as the actual virus replication itself. and in that regard, a variety of drugs have been tested. one, such as remdesivir, has gained fda approval. its effect is clear but modest. when regard to getting early intervention, monoclonal antibodies, both from lilly and from regeneron, have received emergency use authorization. here again, the earlier one uses these, the better.
these are as efficient and more efficient in those individuals who don't necessarily have a good antibody response. the same can be said of convalescent plasma, which has also earned an emergency use authorization -- again, because of the variability in the titer of antibody in various plasma -- excuse me, plasma aliquots. the issue here is getting this as early as possible. there have been a number of trials of a variety of antivirals or other agents that are off the shelf that have not been targeted. i'll get to targeted intervention in just a moment. and then hyperimmune globulin is also in clinical trial. and we await the results of all of these. with regard to therapeutics for advanced disease, as i mentioned, that is generally
aimed at blocking an aberrant inflammatory or immunological response, as well as other pathogenic mechanisms, which are not necessarily that well understood. we have dexamethasone -- a drug approved for many, many, many years -- as the standard of care for advanced disease, particularly people in the hospital on respirators and/or requiring high-flow oxygen. baricitinib and remdesivir have earned emergency use authorization, and a number of immunomodulators, including those that block a variety of cytokines and cytokine receptors, are currently in clinical trials. can i have the next slide? the bottom line of what we need to do looking forward and the clear need in this is the
development of potent antivirals directly acting on sars-cov-2, very similar to what was done with the highly successful drug development program for hiv, as well as for hepatitis c. and what i refer to is the future development of therapeutics will be based on the identification of vulnerable targets in the sars-cov-2 replication cycle and the design of drugs to inhibit these vulnerable targets. as i mentioned, we are beginning this, and this is going to be the direction of the future. i want to point out to the group that the nih, in april, put together a treatment guidelines panel that is a living document of clinicians and people
involved in the care of sars-cov-2-infected individuals, who analyze the literature as well as the now very common pre-print literature and updated in -- meaningfully, in very frequent intervals. it is a living document. as i mentioned, there are 47 voting members of this. and since this was put online in april of 2020 -- easily accessible by covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.g covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.g -- there have been over 11 million hits to this. the reason we feel this is important -- and i want to, again, bring it to everyone's attention -- is that it is an easy way to get experienced clinicians to analyze data that
is already in the literature, as well as data that is in pre-print form, and involved in just clinical experience. it has been very advantageous to clinicians not only in the united states, but worldwide. and if i can have the next slide. finally, i want to just bring to your attention something that the fda has done today in having a press briefing, i believe, at 1:30. i want to bring it to your attention because although they delineated the aspects of it, i want to make sure everyone is aware of the very important work that the fda is doing. and that is, they are guiding the medical product developers by updating their guidelines on how they address the virus variants. and the products involved that are impacted by this updated guidance are vaccines, covid-19 tests, and therapeutics.
why is this important? it is very clear that we are faced right now, and will be in the future, with variants that are already present, and that with all of the immunologic and other pressures that are going on and the high degree of replication throughout the world, that there will be the selecting of a variety of variants. we ourselves in this country are already facing variants that are having impact, such as the uk very variant. we have this -- the south african variant in our nation. and we are even having the evolution of variants within our own country. with regard to vaccines, the fda outlines the scientific recommendations for the modification to authorized vaccines. in other words, we have vaccines that are out there that are highly efficacious. the manufacturers of these are going to want to know how they
can address and modify their vaccines to address the ongoing evolution of variants. and we expect the manufacturing recommendations to remain the same. and the effectiveness is going to be determined by immunogenicity studies. in other words, likely not have to prove efficacy in a large study. the same holds true for covid-19 test. the updated guidelines describes the fda's activities to better understand the public health impact on the variants and the impact on the test performances, and provide recommendations to the developers of these tests regarding the future genetic mutations and what they need to do when designing or modifying their existing tests. and finally, the same holds true for therapeutics, both drugs and biologics. the fda will provide
recommendations on the efficient approaches, how to generate data that potentially could support an eua for monoclonal antibody products that might actually be effective against emerging variants, which obviously will be an issue because we already know particularly that the south african variant is, in fact, obviating the effect of several of the monoclonal antibodies that people have developed. and former guidances on therapeutics will also be updated to address the evolving landscape of the covid-19 drug development, again, in the context of emerging sars-cov-2 variants. in summary, the fda will give guidance to how these companies can address a problem that we know is with us already and that will be a problem in the future.
i will stop there. and back to you, andy. mr. slavitt: thank you, dr. fauci, dr. walensky. let's take a few questions. moderator: great. and if you have not raised your hand yet, you can go ahead and do that, and thata™s how we can -- and that is how we can select you. we will go to katherine eban at vanity fair. reporter: thanks so much for having this briefing. it is very helpful. my question is: what is the biden administrations -- admini stration's policy for vaccinating federal employees? how are they prioritized? and a few other add-on questions. do you know if the biden administration policy contrasts
with that of the trump administration, regarding who was vaccinated when? and in the -- in looking for -- accounting for the missing doses of vaccine, have all of the doses that have been administered to federal employees been accounted for? thank you. mr. slavitt: ok, multiple parts of that question. i will do my best to answer. as it respects to federal employees, what i can tell you is that the federal government is following the acip guidelines. and if you would like more detail or if you have more specific detailed questions on aspects of federal employees, frontline workers, versus others, we will follow up with you and answer those questions. when you say missing doses, can you clarify what you are referring to, please?
[silence] reporter: yeah, dr. walensky had spoken some time ago about vaccine doses that could not be accounted for, and there was a question of whether that was due to a lag of reporting from the states to tiberius. and my question is: have all of the doses that have been used for federal employees been fully accounted for? and is there somebody whose job it is to track that? mr slavitt: so, look, and, dr. walensky, you can comment after me if you would like. but i believe that you are referring to is a comment made some number of weeks ago, right after we arrived here. at that point in time, when we arrived here, about 46 percent of the vaccines that had been distributed to states had been
administered. and so i think what dr. walensky was saying is: we have a whole lot of vaccines that have been delivered that need to now be administered. now, today, that number is about 80 percent. so we were at 46 percent, and now we are at 80 percent. and we applaud the states and the vaccinators and everyone involved in improving that effectiveness. so i do not think, and again, i will invite dr. walensky to, of course, correct me if i am wrong, that she was referring to quote, unquote, amissing -- quote unquote missing vacc ines simply that we needed to get the vaccines that had been delivered to be administered more effectively and more equitably. dr. walensky? >> i do not have much to add. i think when we came into the administration, we had to make sure we didna™t follow all the
paths and where all the doses were, and i think wea™ve done so, just as you commented. mr. slavitt: thank you. next question. moderator: next we will go to chris megerian at los angeles times. reporter: hi, everyone. i was interested in your thoughts on the messaging around the vaccines. there is a lot of conversation about how you need to keep doing the same things even after you get vaccinated -- you know, like wearing a mask, not seeing your family, things like that. do you think that is preventing people from being more enthusiastic about getting vaccines? and may we see that change in the future? mr. slavitt: well, ia™m going to invite both dr. walensky and dr. fauci to comment on that, and then -- you know, and then i will as -- i will as well, if there is anything to add. dr. fauci: yeah, i -- actually, i will start, well, whatever. i will start off and be very brief and hand it to dr.
walensky. there are certain aspects of being vaccinated -- and what that means to you personally and your own personal safety and that of your family -- versus what vaccines will allow you to do in society. one relates to you, yourself, being vaccinated, and the other relates to the number of people and the relative percentage of people in society that will be vaccinated, because there will be things that you will not be able to do because the burden of virus in society will be very high, which it is right now. even though we are going way down on the decline that dr. walensky showed you, we are still at an unacceptably high baseline level with a seven-day average being quite high. so there are things, even if you are vaccinated, that you are not going to be able to do in society: for example, indoor dining, theaters, places where people congregate. that's because of the safety of society. you, yourself, what you can do when you are together with another person, we are looking at that, and we are going to try and find out very quickly what recommendations could be made about what people can do. one of the things that is universal here that we know:
that at this point in time, it is unclear whether when you get vaccinated and you might be protected from clinical disease, which is the primary endpoint of the vaccine studies, that you could conceivably be infected, have virus in your nasopharynx, and at that same time have no symptoms, which is the reason why we recommend and say you still need to wear a mask. because if you do have virus in your nasopharynx, even though we hope that when the data comes in, it is going to show that the virus level is quite low and you are not transmitting it, we do not know that now. and for that reason, we want to make sure that people continue to wear masks despite the fact that they are vaccinated. so, dr. walensky, why dona™t you -- why don't you add to that? dr. walensky: great. thank you.
i will say that we have already started to come out with some guidance that demonstrates the difference a few have been vaccinated versus if you have not. so we are starting to emerge with some guidance in this area, and more will be forthcoming. i would echo exactly what dr. fauci said. we are working on rolling out a lot of vaccine to a lot of people, and yet we still have a lot of disease -- 66,000 cases a day. so what we might be proposing, in terms of guidance, will really likely be at the individual level and not at the community level. mr. slavitt: and let me just follow up, to make a broader point. the broader point that dr. fauci and dr. walensky both alluded to is this: the scientific team, the president -- as the scientific team, including prominently dr. fauci and dr. walensky -- are very much working together on those sets of recommendations.
and i think it is in our interest to make sure they release information based on data, not on -- to your -- the tenet of your question -- trying to convince the public of something that is not necessarily based on data. i think that you will hear that consistently from this administration. i will tell you that people are interested in taking the vaccine in large numbers for the same reason people are interested in taking the vaccine for mmr and for the flu: because they want to live. they do not want to be sick and they do not want to die. and that is a very important benefit that people dona™t often -- that people do not often talk about quite as much but that the public, we believe, clearly understands. beyond that, what we are able to do as a society -- the scientific team is going to continue to study based upon prevalence, based upon vaccination levels, and based
upon the data, and we will come out with more. and there are plenty of commentators outside of the government that are, of course, expressing their own views and their own opinions. and so i think that, that is a part of the discourse, but ita™s -- but it is not one that this -- that we are going to jump into too hastily. next question. >> next we will go to erin banco at the daily beast. reporter: hey, there. thanks so much for doing this. i have two questions for you all. the first question is about issues surrounding the cdc vaccination tracker. a lot of state officials that we spoke to over the past couple of weeks were dissatisfied with how their state was being reflected in that vaccine tracker. i want to know if there have been any steps to clear up that data, whether those concerns have been dealt with, and what the issue was there. mr. slavitt: dr. walensky. dr. walensky: yeah, thank you for that. we are actively working on the vaccine tracker. we recognize there are
challenges in rolling it out, and we are working to fix them imminently. reporter: great. thanks so much. my second question is: we hit the 500,000 mark today, or i guess late last night. some officials and health experts have said that we are almost certainly undercounting covid-19 deaths in this country. i wonder if any of you could speak to that and whether -- or how confident you are in whether, you know, more than 500,000 people have died as a result of covid-19 in this country. and i also have not seen a mortality study done yet since the pandemic began. is that going to happen? and when that might be published? thanks. mr. slavitt: dr. walensky. dr. walensky: yeah, i mean, i think we can -- even if -- even if we were perfectly precise in how we defined covid-19 early on as we were learning about the disease and we were accurate in our counting, i think we can sort of understand that there
has been excess mortality from this pandemic outside of covid-19 specifically. so people who delayed in getting medical care -- many, you know, delayed in coming in. so i think that when history writes this, we will understand that the mortality related to this pandemic is far greater than the numbers that we have been counting for numerous reasons. there have been numerous mortality studies that have been done, and i am certain there will be more forthcoming because we are continuing to accumulate mortality, unfortunately. mr. slavitt: ok, next question. moderator: last question will go to maggie fox at cnn. reporter: thanks very much. can i ask about the johnson & johnson vaccine? if it wins emergency use authorization, what are the plans for distributing the initial supply? have you got a number in mind for how many doses you will think -- you think you will
have? and will they go to the states? will they go to retail pharmacies? will they go to some of these independent retail pharmacies? can you talk a little bit about what your plans for that are? >> i think we are going to wait on that until after the fda does its work and then after the acip does its work, all consistent with our philosophy of letting the science go first. once we understand what the scientific community has to say, we will then be in a position to answer, i think, the very relevant questions that we need scientists' advice on. and again, this is the president's directive to let science lead, and then we will rapidly follow that up with a strategy, both distribution and targeting and otherwise, that reflects that. dr. walensky or dr. fauci, is there anything you want to -- you would add to that? dr. fauci: no, that's precisely correct. it is very important, because
the fda is going over the data very, very carefully. they are meeting with their vrbpac, and that, in the data, there may be hints about just how this would be used most appropriately and most effectively. when we find that out, then the policy of the distribution would become much more scientifically based, as andy has said. dr. walensky: and then, right on its heels will be the acip from the cdc to, sort of, give some guidance as to how it should be rolled out. reporter: can i just follow up a bit though? do you have any idea of how many doses there will be? the science is not guiding that. you know whether they are manufacturing and where they are in that. dr. fauci: yeah. >> yeah -- >> no, they have been contracted for 100 million doses, which we will hopefully get by the end of june, the beginning of july. the rollout of that -- there will not be a lot of doses right on the heels of eua, but that will accelerate as we get into the months towards the contractual arrangement of when 100 million doses will be given.
mr. slavitt: yeah. and we will be speaking to that also. but again we are going to wait for the fda and the acip to do their work, and then i commit to you, you will be hearing a lot more, presuming that the eua is granted. and we are, -- and we are not, of course, going to take anything for granted, but presuming that that happens, i commit to you, youa™ll be -- you will be hearing a lot more about all those topics. i want to take the opportunity again to thank you for listening in to the briefing and, on this solemn day, to encourage you to watch the president's remarks this evening with the vice president, the first lady, and the second gentleman to remember the 500,000 people that we have lost. and we will look forward to bringing you more information later in the week, of course. thank you. >> with the bided administration
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the confirmation for the interior secretary nominee. watch live coverage tuesday on c-span. c-span2, c-span3, and c-span.org. or listen on the c-span radio app. >> every year of his presidency, donald trump spoke at the conservative political action conference. sunday he returns to the annual gathering to give his first public speech since leaving office. watch live coverage of the three day conference, including former president trump on its final day on the c-span networks, online at c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> earlier today, president biden talked about his plan to support small businesses struggling to stay open during the covid-19 pandemic area this is 10 minutes.
pres. biden: each day i receive a small card in my pocket. i carry it with my schedule. it shows the number of americans who have been affected or have died from covid-19. today we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone. futterman -- five under thousand -- 500,071 dead. as more americans have died this year in the pandemic then those in world war i, world war ii, and the vietnam war combined, that is more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on earth. as we knowledge the scale of
this mass death. -- this mass death in america, we remember each person in the life they lived. they are people we knew. they are people we feel like we knew. read the obituaries and remember the son who called his mom every night to check in, the father's daughter who lit up his world, the best friend who was always there, the nurse and nurses, the nurse who made her patients want to live. i was just in kalamazoo, michigan, at the pfizer vaccine manufacturing facility. i met a man when i walked in whose father-in-law was dying of the virus. he was sad. i asked if i could call his father-in-law. he said his father-in-law was to speak -- too sick to speak. but then he said, could i pray
for him? could i pray for him? we all know someone, fellow americans who live lives, struggle, who find purpose and hope. who talk late into the night about their dreams. who wore the uniform born to serve, who always offered a hand . we often hear of people described as ordinary americans. there is no such thing. there's nothing ordinary about them. the people we lost were extraordinary. they span generations. born in america, emigrated to america. just like that, so many of them took their final breath alone in america. as a nation, we cannot accept such a cruel fate.
while we fight this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. we have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or abler or -- or a blur, or on the news. we must honor the dead but care for the living and those left behind. >> after those remarks, the president was joined by first lady jill biden, vice president kamala harris, and second gentleman doug emhoff for a moment of science outside the white house. marking the u.s. coronavirus death toll surpassing 500,000.
[cameras operating] >> you are watching c-span, your unfiltered view of government. c-span was created by america's to -- america's cable television companies in 1979. we are brought to you by these companies who provide c-span2 viewers as a public service -- c-span to viewers as a public service. >> c-span's washington journal. every day we are taking your calls live on the air on the news of the day. we will discuss policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, the
dayton ohio mayor, vice president of the u.s. conference of mayors, discusses how covid has impacted city budgets. then the epidemiologist and president of the beaumont foundation, a public health nonprofit, discusses the response to the covid-19 pandemic. watch c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. >> wasn't a c-span's podcast the weekly. this week and expects -- an expert on infectious diseases talks about the road ahead in dealing with covid. >> we have a very long road ahead. i can say without any doubt at this point that we should expect more curveballs to be thrown at us. if we had this interview 10 weeks ago, we would not have been talking about variants in
the way we are now. look at where we are today talking about the severe challenges they present. expect the unexpected. it is still out there. there is much we can do, but at this point, this will not be over with anytime soon. >> find c-span's the weeklies -- the weekly, where you get your podcasts. >> and now judge merrick garland testifies in front of the senate judiciary committee. the hearing lasted most of the day. we will show you the entire event now. [laughter]