CDC revisits mask guidance in schools, says changes may come by fall
From CNN's Naomi Thomas
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said school guidance is being revisited as more and younger people get vaccinated — and there may be a change in school mask guidance in time for fall.
“We’ve said through the school year of ‘20 to ‘21 that our school guidance was not going to change,” Walensky said on Good Morning America Thursday when asked why children still need to wear masks. “What we really are doing now is looking at the evidence in the context of so many people getting vaccinated, in the context of disease rates coming down in certain communities and really looking at the evidence now."
“As we’re starting to get those people vaccinated, we will be revisiting this in our school guidance," she noted.
When asked if there might be a change to mask guidance in time for school in the fall, Walensky said, “I think we will. We are looking at the evidence now and we will be coming out with that guidance, soon to come.”
She noted that early on in vaccination efforts, when older populations got vaccinated, more disease was seen in older teens and younger people in their 20s.
9:36 a.m. ET, June 3, 2021
Fauci responds to critics who say email from Wuhan lab funder was too "cozy"
From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard)
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Thursday morning that an email he received last year from an executive at the US-based EcoHealth Alliance has been misconstrued.
In the wake of thousands of Fauci's emails publishing online, he has received some criticism for an email sent last April by an executive at the global nonprofit, which helped fund some research at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology. The email thanked Fauci for publicly stating that scientific evidence supports a natural origin for the coronavirus and not a lab release.
CNN's John Berman read the email to Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during an appearance on New Day.
"There are some of your critics who say this shows you have too cozy of a relationship with the people behind the Wuhan lab research," Berman said. "What do you say to that?"
"That's nonsense," Fauci responded. "I don't even see how they get that from that email."
Fauci then emphasized that the email was sent to him — so he was on the receiving end.
"I have always said, and will say today to you, John, that I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human, but I keep an absolutely open mind that if there may be other origins, there may be another reason, it could have been a lab leak," Fauci told Berman.
"I believe if you look historically, what happens in the animal-human interface, that in fact the more likelihood is that you're dealing with a jump of species. But I keep an open mind all the time. And that's the reason why I have been public that we should continue to look for the origin," Fauci said.
"You can misconstrue it however you want — that email was from a person to me saying 'thank you' for whatever it is he thought I said, and I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species. I still do think it is, at the same time as I'm keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak," he continued.
Hear Dr. Fauci's response to released emails:
10:22 a.m. ET, June 3, 2021
Fauci is "cautiously optimistic" all children will be able to get vaccinated by end of 2021
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he is “cautiously optimistic” that children under age 12 will be able to get vaccinated by Thanksgiving.
“We are now doing studies that are ongoing as we're speaking, studies that are looking at what we call age de-escalation: children from 12 to 9 and then 9 to 6 and then 6 to 2 and then 6 months to 2 years. We hope as we approach the end of this calendar year, we'll have enough information to vaccinate children of any age,” Fauci told CNN’s John Berman.
Fauci also said he feels “fairly certain” that the US will not experience the kind of coronavirus surges that the country has seen in the past.
“You're not going to see a substantial blip. You may see a little, but not anything that even resembles a surge” in states that have high vaccination rates, Fauci said.
“What I am concerned about [is] those states in which the level of vaccination is low. That you may continue to see higher levels of cases as we get into the summer. That's what my concern is,” he said.
9:10 a.m. ET, June 3, 2021
CDC director says she expects US to reach Biden’s July 4 Covid-19 vaccine goal
From CNN's Naomi Thomas
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on ABC’s Good Morning America Thursday that she expects the country will reach President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of US adults receiving one shot of Covid-19 vaccine by July 4.
“I certainly expect we will, I certainly hope so,” she said. “I am really looking forward to this June month of action where we canvass America, we work together, we collaborate as a nation in all walks of who we are from mayors to colleges, from businesses to athletes, really working together to reach that 70% goal.”
President Biden on Wednesday announced a "National Month of Action" and outlined additional steps his administration is taking to meet that goal. Four of the nation's largest childcare providers will offer free childcare from now until July 4 to Americans who are getting their Covid-19 vaccine or recovering from the shot, Biden said.
Starting next week, thousands of pharmacies — including Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens — will stay open late every Friday in June in order to allow more Americans to get vaccinated.
The month of action includes a partnership with Anheuser-Busch that could also mean free alcohol for every American 21 years of age and older
CNN's Kate Sullivan, Kaitlan Collins and Jeremy Diamond contributed reporting to this post.
8:01 a.m. ET, June 3, 2021
Next phase of Covid-19 vaccine campaign will be harder, US surgeon general says
From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas
The next phase of the Covid-19 vaccine campaign in the US will be more difficult, but “we’re not giving up,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Wednesday.
President Biden announced a "National Month of Action" Wednesday to try to help meet the administration’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the population by July 4.
“I believe if we do everything that you know we have laid out today, if we have a great response from the community, I think we absolutely can still hit that goal,” Murthy said.
“Because we had so much success early on, we are now getting to the part of the campaign which is tougher,” Murthy added. “We've got to look further, if you will – convince more people, get to the right information, increase access even further.”
9:18 a.m. ET, June 3, 2021
After months of debate, White House prepares to announce next steps in global vaccination effort
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins
After months of deliberations, President Biden has finalized his plan to distribute millions of coronavirus vaccines worldwide.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted earlier that an announcement was imminent, and according to multiple sources familiar with the plans, officials could reveal it as soon as today or potentially Friday.
This week, officials will detail which specific countries are getting vaccines while cautioning that this is expected to be a lengthy, complicated process, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
For months, administration aides and federal health officials have deliberated over the best way to share additional vaccines doses. The US has come under intense pressure to help other nations, and several of Biden's top aides have fielded requests from allies to help, including the President himself. Jeff Zients, whom Biden recently tapped to lead efforts to address the pandemic globally, has worked in close coordination with national security adviser Jake Sullivan, sources say.
Administration officials are expected to lay out the criteria they've agreed on to determine which countries get doses. It remains to be seen whether the US will unilaterally decide which countries get which vaccines, or whether the international vaccine initiative known as COVAX will play a major role in deciding who gets them. It could also be a combination of both, officials say.
One of the most complicated part of the decision-making process has centered on the enormous operational undertaking that sharing vaccines will require. Zients and Sullivan have worked with multiple federal agencies, including the Defense Department and State Department, to coordinate this, in addition to diplomatic counterparts.
Two big factors that will matter are quality control and a country's public health infrastructure.
Right now, only doses of vaccines made by Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will be distributed, an official told CNN.
Biden said in May the US would send 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses to other countries by July Fourth. But, as of Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET, those doses have not cleared a federal safety and efficacy review conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration, another official said.