US VP Harris prescribed COVID-19 antiviral pill after testing positive
Harris press secretary Kirsten Allen tweeted the announcement about the vice president’s treatment on Tuesday. It came just hours after it was announced that Harris, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, tested positive for COVID-19.
“She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence,” Allen said in a statement announcing Harris’s positive test.
“She will follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The Vice President will return to the White House when she tests negative,” the press secretary added.
Also on Tuesday, the White House put forward new efforts to make Paxlovid, which is considered to be a highly effective way to treat COVID-19, more widely available at pharmacies.
The pills were authorized in December, and now the Biden administration said the number of sites with available pills would be increased from 20,000 to 30,000 for the time being, with intentions of having 40,000 locations with pills “over the coming weeks.”
“Although Paxlovid was initially in short supply after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization, the Administration has worked with Pfizer to accelerate the delivery of these pills, and they are now in ample supply,” the White House said in a statement.
White House pushing to up COVID pill availability
© AP Photo/Susan Walsh
|The United States is at an inflection point in the coronavirus pandemic but needs Congress to authorize more funding to sustain progress, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said Tuesday.|
Jha, making his first appearance in the briefing room, told reporters that while cases are on the rise because of the BA.2 variant of the virus, there is reason for optimism as hospitalizations and deaths are at some of the lowest levels of the pandemic to date.
“We are going to see cases go up and go down during this pandemic as we head into the weeks, months and years ahead,” Jha said. “The key things we need to be following— are health care systems getting stressed. Are people ending up in the hospital with severe illness. Are people dying at high rates.”
The administration will be stepping up education to doctors, including with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alert issued Monday, to encourage them to prescribe them for people who are eligible.
But Jha warned the U.S. could remain vulnerable to setbacks in the fight against the pandemic if Congress does not authorize billions of dollars in additional funding.
An agreement on funding has remained out of reach in recent weeks.
WORLD COVID STATS
Highlighted in green
= all cases have recovered from the infection
Highlighted in grey
= all cases have had an outcome (there are no active cases)
April 27 (GMT)