During the White House press briefing on Tuesday, and just hours after it was announced that Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for coronavirus, COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha denied that it was “a matter of time” before President Biden tests positive for the virus.
- Every time a high profile person like the vice president catches COVID, or attention on the infection, for Americans following that news, what lessons should they draw from that experience if somebody as protected as her has caught COVID?
ASHISH JHA: Good question. So I think if you take a step back and look at the vice president, she is boosted, actually, twice boosted, right? We have a very, very contagious variant out there. It is going to be hard to ensure that no one gets COVID in America. That's not even a policy goal. The goal of our policy should be-- obviously minimize infections whenever possible-- but to make sure people don't get seriously ill.
The best ways of doing that are making sure people are vaccinated and boosted, as the vice president is, and making sure we have plenty of therapeutics. So you know, so that that is available as well. And that to me is the key lesson here.
- And is she receiving any therapeutics, since we're on the topic of therapeutics?
ASHISH JHA: You know, that's a conversation that she's having with her physician. I'm not her physician, I'm not privy to those conversations. So I don't know the answer to that.
- Thank you, Dr. Jha. Welcome to the briefing, by the way.
ASHISH JHA: Thank you.
- To your point that so many Americans can and will get this, this report that just came out today that 16% of Americans have had-- it appears to have had COVID. The president is getting ready to ramp up his travel schedule, the vice president just caught it, she's twice boosted. Should Americans be prepared for a time when President Biden gets this? Is it just a matter of time that the president could get COVID?
ASHISH JHA: I wouldn't say it's just a matter of time. But of course, it is possible that the president, like any other American, could get COVID. The bottom line is he is vaccinated and boosted, he is very well protected, he's got very good protocols around him to protect him from getting infected. But there is no 100% anything. And I think the key focus has got to be, we've got to continue protecting the president. That's what the protocols around him are designed to do. Yeah. Let me just-- let me leave it at that.