Summary of White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing, first in two months.

(Last night, Trump filed for the Supreme Court to end the ACA, protecting 23 million people with medical care..

Also,130 million would lose Preexisting Conditions protection, including those that are vulnerable to the Coronavirus Pandemic.)

(Someone is absent today:  President Trump)

VP Pence:

45 days to slow the spread.  Opening up America. Truly remarkable progress. 3 million jobs created.  NY, New Orleans, New Jersey ..

Opening up safely and responsibly.

Supporting state efforts.

Next week, traveling to Texas, Arizona, and Florida.  Weekly call to governors.

Suspended travel from China.  Halted travel from Europe.  Repatriation of 95,000 Americans.  45 days to slow the spread.  Reduced US toll from 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.  Testing 30 million, 500,000 per day.  Billions of supplies.  100,000 ventilators.

Surged hospital capacity.

All 50 states reopening.  Task force focused on saving lives.  17 meetings of task force since.   (CNN points out that 11 states have had to walk back some opening.)

30,000 cases a day dropped to 20,000 (now 40,000), now rising across the South. 16 states with rising cases and percentages.

Specific outbreaks.  More testing gives more cases.  Finding more younger  Americans, but they are less at risk.  Hospitalization highly specific.  See the County map.

Hospitalization remains broadly available.

Fatalities are declining.  Remdesivir, steroids, reduce losses.

Slowed the spread, flattened the curve.  Still have work to do.

Continue to do your part, especially younger Americans across the Sunbelt.

Follow guidelines for all of the phases.  34 states reopening safely.  Testing.  Listen to your state and local authorities.  Youth must not carry the Coronavirus to areas where the vulnerable are.

Dr. Birx.  White House Response Coordinator.  Spectrum of disease.  Now being tested to find the asymptomatic and mild cases.  Now know who is at risk, especially those over 80 and diabetes, obesity, comorbidity.

Improved oxygenation, steroids, acute cytokines storm, clotting research, plasma, Remdesivir.

130 counties out of 3,100 US counties in fast rising category.

Next week will present graphics in real time on White House website.  (She presented lots of graphics, without sound or fury, signifying nothing.)

Testing among under 40, since have asymptomatic cases, and need to be tested to stop the spread.  Over 80, stay home.  Use grandchildren for shopping.

Dr. Fauci. Connected as a country.  Opening too early, or citizens not following in an orderly fashion.  Dynamic global process.  We are affecting others.  What is our role?  Everybody wants economy to recover.  Never seen 40% no symptoms, to broad spectrum of complications.  Part of the dynamic process.

A risk for you as you are part of propagating the pandemic.  Majority getting infected now young.  R is greater than 1.  Others are immune problems.  You have a responsibility, as part of the process.

You can be either part of the solution, or part of the problem.  Even the parts that did well, they are vulnerable. The only way we are going to end it is by ending it together.

Alex Azar.  Health and Human Services Secretary.

US helped ending Ebola (resurging).

6 parts to strategy.  Track more cases among youth.

1.  Best testing capabilities

2.  Community testing 

3.  Supplies and sterilize for reuse.

5.  Warp Speed therapeutics. Remdesivir, and dexamethasone.  Plasma

6.  Warp Speed 3 vaccines funded to manufacture, and more soon.

Just 3% of counties are hot spots. (But large ones).

Evaluate who you live with, and what you are thinking of doing.  Lessen time of interaction.  Rock solid foundation to back to school, worship.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. Face coverings, 6 feet apart, appeal to under 40s.  Youth also have comorbidities, but not advertised to companions.

Focus on consequences of the cases.  27% of deaths in US were from pneumonia two months ago, now back to 7%.  

Individuals have to think about their responsibilities.

Questions. Campaign runs without social distancing and masks.  Why?  Pence:  screening and best counsel at events.  Listen to state and local authorities.

Q.  Wearing masks?  Listen to state and local authorities. Same for events and gatherings.

Q.  Spike in cases and reopenings?  Some states okay.  Now seeing under 35s testing positive.  No young person would want to expose a relative.

Dr. Fauci.  What is not working is asymptomatic infections. Paradigm of testing isolation and contact tracing.  Don’t have isolating areas.  Have to study communities.

Dr. Birx.  Community at the center.  Also going to Texas, Arizona, and Florida.  Walk side by side with community leaders as in metropolitan areas.  Fauci agrees.

Q.  Do you expect the death rate to go up.  Pence:  Hope and Prayers (really?).  Half of cases under 35, but people with comorbidities are at risk.

Test all residents and staff at nursing homes.  (About time.)

Q.  Tulsa, staff and secret service now quarantined.  Arizona, packed a church with unmasked.  Pence:  Right to assemble.  People can choose.  Freedom and responsibility important.  Stable in 34 states.  16 states focusing on today. 


About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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