Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count

Posted by tom012

Welcome and thank you all for standing by. At this time, all participants will be in a listen only mode until the question and answer portion of today’s conference. During the question and answer portion, if you would like to ask a question, you may use star one.




Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Benjamin Haynes. Thank you. You may begin.

Benjamin Haynes:

Thank you, Ivy. Good morning and thank you all for joining us for today’s telebriefing. We are joined by CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky who will provide opening remarks. Then we will be joined by Dr. Greta Massetti and she’s the principal deputy incident manager for the CDC’s COVID 19 response and Dr. Henry Walke. He’s the co-lead of the expanding testing and diagnostic work group for the COVID 19 response. And all three will be available to take your questions. At this time. I’d like to turn the call over to Dr. Walensky.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky:

Thank you so much. Good morning and thanks for joining us. Today, I want to provide you an update on keeping our children safe and protecting them from COVID 19. We’ve made tremendous progress over the past year. A safe and effective vaccine is now recommended for all children five and older. This fall, during the Delta wave, almost 100% of schools across the country open for in-person learning, providing educational, social, and mental health benefits to our children and adolescents. We continue to publish data on ways that we can keep children in school safe. And this fall, we saw that these strategies worked . Vaccine, masks, increased ventilation, and testing are all important layers of prevention that keep our children safe and keep them in school for in-person learning. Yesterday, we updated our guidance for K-12’s school operations to reflect the most up to date science and evidence following our updates to isolation and quarantine guidance for healthcare settings and general public.

We have now provided updated recommendations for how students, teachers, and staff in schools should isolate after testing positive for COVID 19 or quarantine after exposure. I know that many teachers and parents have concerns about the Omicron variant. Coming back after the holiday break, many schools return to virtual learning because of a surge in COVID 19 cases in their communities, largely due to the Omicron variant. Our updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine and our prior publications and continued assessment of test to stay protocols in schools, provide the tools necessary to get these schools reopened for in-person learning and to keep them open for the rest of the school year. In addition to updating our K-12 guidance to ensure a safe and positive learning environment for children, this week we also expanded and strengthened our vaccine recommendations for children and adolescents aged 5 to 17.

We of course continue to recommend that children ages 5 to 11 be vaccinated with a two dose Pfizer Biointech mRNA vaccine series. And this week following FDA authorization, we added a recommendation for an additional dose of a vaccine for children, 5 to 11, who are immunocompromised. Further CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met to discuss booster doses for children ages 12 to 15. I endorsed their recommendation for these children to receive a booster dose five months after their primary series. And also their strong recommendation that all children, ages 12 to 17, should receive a booster dose to ensure that they are up to date with their vaccines and protected against the Omicron variant. Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect our children from COVID 19.

Today, we are releasing updated data from COVID Net, a population-based surveillance system that collects data on laboratory confirmed COVID 19 associated hospitalizations among children and adults through a network of over 250 acute care hospitals in 14 states. Hospitalization rates have increased for people of all ages and while children still have the lowest rate of hospitalization of any group, pediatric hospitalizations are at the highest rate compared to any prior point in the pandemic. Sadly, we are seeing the rates of hospitalizations increasing for children zero to four, children who are not yet currently eligible for COVID 19 vaccination. We are still learning more about the severity of Omicron in children, and whether these increases we are seeing in hospitalization reflect a greater burden of disease in the community or the lower rates of vaccination for these children under age 18. Currently just over 50% of children, 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, and only 16% of those five to 11 are fully vaccinated. We know that vaccination prevents severe disease and hospitalizations.

In data posted to CDC’s COVID data tracker, the rate of COVID 19 associated hospitalizations in unvaccinated adolescents age 12 to 17 years, was about 11 times higher than fully vaccinated adolescents of the same age range. For those children who are eligible, I strongly encourage their parents to get them vaccinated. And if they are 12 or older, get boosted. A review of over 26 million vaccine doses in this age group was publicly reviewed at our advisory committee this week and demonstrated the overwhelming safety of COVID 19 vaccination. Please, for our youngest children, those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, it’s critically important that we surround them with people who are vaccinated to provide them protection. This includes at home, at daycare, and preschools and throughout our entire community. It has been nearly two years since CDC activated its emergency response for COVID 19. Throughout that time, this virus has changed and is constantly throwing us curve balls.

As this virus changes, the science changes and through it all, the scientists across CDC have worked every day to stay current in our recommendations. Incorporating the latest science into our guidance and partnering with state and local public health to provide recommendations that are both feasible and can be implemented in communities across the country. The past few weeks have challenging for all of us. Omicron has rapidly become the predominant variant and cases have substantially increased rates higher than we have seen at any point throughout this pandemic. In addition, to hospitals being full, our healthcare and public health workers are frequently themselves out infected or sick, leading to additional workforce capacity challenges. We at CDC have worked incredibly hard to keep pace with the virus to provide practical guidance in real time and to do right by the American people. Every day, I am proudly joined by thousands of scientists at this agency as we continue to closely monitor all of the available data about COVID 19 and advise the country as to what we know works best to protect them in this very moment. Ben, I will now turn things back to you so that we can take questions. Thank you.

Benjamin Haynes:

Thank you, Dr. Walensky. Ivy, I believe we are ready for questions please.


Absolutely. Again, that is star one if you have a question on the phone. Our first question is from Lena sun from the Washington post. Please go ahead.

Lena Sun:

Thanks Dr. Walensky for taking this call, taking this question, I wanted to ask whether you, are aware that people are confused about the messaging from CDC and that you would acknowledge that CDC has done a bad job of the public messaging. And whether you’re, you can talk about what factors account for that, what specific steps, you and the CDC are considering. And if you could explain why you are doing this briefing today, which we’re very glad to hear, and is that going to be the first of regular briefings since we haven’t had one in almost a year. Thank you very much.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky:

Yeah. Thank you, Lena, for that question. we’re in an unprecedented time with the speed of Omicron cases rising, and we are working really hard to get information to the American public and balancing that with the realities that we’re all living with. We were seeing just before the holidays, , that, you know, healthcare workers were really, , having challenges in staffing as a harbinger of many things that we, , anticipated would come in in many areas. , this is hard and I am committed and to continue to improve as we learn more about the science and to communicate that with all of you, , for the last year, I’ve taken your questions in about 80, over 80 briefings since I took office, , and oftentimes multiple times a week, but I hear that you are interested in hearing from the CDC independently and we are eager to answer your questions and I will continue to engage with you. , so I anticipate that this will be, , the first of many briefings and I very much look forward to them. Thank you.

Lena Sun:

Okay. And the follow question was, why did you do one today?

Event Date
Friday, January 28, 2022
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