Editorial: Facts, science at a White House briefing. How refreshing

Posted February 4, 2021 5:00 a.m. EST
Updated February 5, 2021 10:46 p.m. EST

CBC Editorial: Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021; Editorial #8632
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

The people overseeing the nation’s effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic held a briefing at the White House Wednesday. It was remarkable. You need to see it to believe it. You can watch it here.

Coordinator Jeff Zients, Dr. Rochelle E. Walensky and Dr. Anthony Fauci were prepared, spoke directly, offered specific information and provided the scientific information to back up their statements.

After a year of ad-lib, off-the-cuff conjecture and often conflicting statements, the briefing Thursday was a welcome bit of normalcy. People who know what they are talking about, explaining the situation, what is getting done – all without gratuitous grandstanding.

It was organized. Coordinator Jeff Zients said he would be talking about three key areas to establish support and bolster community vaccination sites nationwide. He listed them:

1. The federal government is expediting financial support to bolster community vaccination sites across the nation. He mentioned North Carolina specifically.
2. Deploying additional personnel to provide technical assistance to support vaccination sites nationwide and provide additional staff from the federal government.
3. Building new community vaccination centers across the country – with support from the Department of Defense.

He listed, 1-4, what was being done to get more vaccines out around the nation and get it into more arms.

1. Increased vaccine supply by over 20 percent.
2. Provided visibility on supply on a rolling three-week basis so governors and local leaders can better plan and maximize the number of needles in arms.
3. Secured the equipment to get a sixth dose from every Pfizer vial of vaccine.
4. Purchased 200 million more doses so every American gets vaccinated.

Walensky offered details on the state of the pandemic. No guesswork. Data and trends backed up by facts.

1. Cases and hospital admissions continue to decrease.
2. COVID-19 cases have declined steadily since a peak on Jan.8, dropping 13.4 percent to an average of nearly 144,000 cases per day from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1. Cases are where they were before Thanksgiving.
3. New hospital admissions continue to decline from a peak on Jan. 5, decreasing 4.1 percent to an average of approximately 11,400 a day from Jan. 25 to Jan. 31.

Fauci talked about vaccine development and effectiveness. “We, in the United States … are back on the global scene. We reentered into our arrangement with the WHO (World Health Organization), and we are part of COVAX. So I just want to remind people that this is a global effort and the more we get the virus controlled globally — and we will be part of that process as part of the global community — the better off we will be.”

Watch for yourselves. It was the kind of purposeful, coordinated discussion that provides facts and information. Watch it. Read the text below. While the pandemic isn’t going to go away tomorrow, you can’t help but recognize and have some confidence that, finally, there is a purposeful and focused effort that really gets the job done.

You can read the White House transcript of the briefing here.

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