WASHINGTON — Health officials on the White House COVID-19 Response Team held a briefing on Friday morning.
The briefings, set for three times a week, are part of President Joe Biden’s attempt to rebuild trust and mobilize Americans to follow health guidance on the coronavirus and to break down public resistance to the vaccine.
The 10:15 a.m. ET briefing included Dr. Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director; Dr. Rochelle Walensky and White House Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response Andy Slavitt.
The briefing comes a day after President Biden doubled his original goal on COVID-19 vaccines by pledging that the nation will administer 200 million doses by the end of his first 100 days in office.
The administration had met Biden’s initial goal of 100 million doses earlier this month — before even his 60th day in office — as the president pushes to defeat a pandemic that has killed more than 545,000 Americans and devastated the nation’s economy.
During a Wednesday briefing, Dr. Fauci wasn’t ready to say the nation has turned the corner on the coronavirus pandemic despite about 2.5 million Americans getting vaccinated each day.
The government’s top infectious disease expert says he often gets asked that question. His response: “We are at the corner. Whether we or not we are going to be turning the corner remains to be seen.”
Fauci says the main challenge remains a stubbornly high level of new daily cases in the country. It’s hovering around an average of 55,000 and up slightly in recent days. While that is clearly much better than the 250,000 daily cases at the peak of the winter wave, it’s uncomfortably close to levels seen during the COVID wave of last summer.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The United States has more than 30 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As of Friday, the U.S. had more than 546,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 125 million confirmed cases with more than 2.7 million deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.