CDC: Biden's 'COVID plan is clearly working'

"As a result of all this progress in the tools we now have, we're moving toward a time when COVID isn't a crisis, but it's something we can protect against and treat," said Zients.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

During a press briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team on Wednesday, the Biden administration’s COVID Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is "planning for the future of this virus."

Zients said that the country has made "tremendous progress" towards protecting the population from the virus, noting that three out of every four American adults has been fully vaccinated, and two thirds of eligible adults have received their boosters.

He also noted that "we have strong tools" for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated in providing "added layers of protection" and treatment, including free at home tests, high quality masks, and a range go therapeutics and treatments, including the anti-viral pill that is reportedly 90 percent effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization.

"As a result of all this progress in the tools we now have, we're moving toward a time when COVID isn't a crisis, but it's something we can protect against and treat," said Zients.

"The President and our COVID team are actively planning for the future. As we look forward, we'll continue to enhance the powerful set of tools that we have at our disposal," he added.

Zients continued on to say that vaccines, boosters, tests, and treatments will "keep protecting our most vulnerable including the immunocompromised," and that a vaccine for the youngest population "is on the horizon."

"And as always, we'll prepare for the potential any new variant to ensure we're ready to respond immediately and protect people. Throughout this planning process, our team has been working with experts both inside and outside of government, local public health leaders, governors, business leaders, and partners across our health agencies to benefit from their expertise and ideas," said Zients.

"We'll have more to say on this in the coming weeks. And while we're not where we all want to be yet we're encouraged by the dramatic declines we're seeing in cases and hospitalizations nationwide. The President's COVID plan is clearly working," he added.

President Joe Biden outlined his COVID-19 plans for the winter late last year, warning of a "winter of severe illness and death" for those who are unvaccinated.

Later during the question and answer period, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky was questioned about updated guidelines that are reported to come soon, and whether an adjustment to masking requirements would be addressed.

"Maybe I’ll start and just say we are looking at an overview of much of our guidance and masking in all settings will be a part of that," said Walensky.

In response to a question on whether the White House has reached out to the CDC urging them to update their guidelines, Zients said: "The CDC is clearly in the lead here on about the substance and the timing of masking guidance."


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