Dr. Fauci on coronavirus pandemic: Vaccines are working but variants surprised us

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani discusses the White House at-home test website and the initiative to distribute 400 million free N95 masks, in addition to Dr. Fauci giving an update about where America is since the first COVID-19 case two years ago.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: All right. The government's website for at home COVID tests has debuted. Yahoo Finance senior health care reporter, Anjalee Khemlani, has more on this. Anjalee.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right, Brian. So today is the day that we know is supposed to be the full launch of that at home COVID testing site, covidtest.gov. We saw a soft rollout yesterday and of course, as expected, some glitches there. Reports of individuals who live in multi-family homes, like apartments or condos, having trouble ordering if someone else who already lives in the building, ordered one. And so we've seen that USPS has taken action, asked for complaints to be filed, as well as call ins to help figure out the situation. The reports were very few and far between. So largely speaking, many people reporting that it was really quick and easy to get those.

Meanwhile today, we're expected to hear from President Joe Biden, discussing ongoing response to the pandemic. And that includes rolling out free N95 masks to Americans through retail pharmacies, as well as community health centers. And those are the same sites where we know vaccines were distributed through. That's

400 million N95 mask from the national stockpile, which as of January, has sent more than 750 million. And it's really the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in the United States history. We're seeing that shipments are starting this week and arrivals to these sites, probably late next week through February, when the program is expected to be in full swing.

JULIE HYMAN: And Anjalee, we've been in this for a long time now, because, two years ago this week, is when the first COVID case in the United States was discovered, was reported, was confirmed. And as part of our coverage of that unfortunate anniversary, you had the chance to speak with Anthony Fauci about all of this. What stood out to you?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, we talked about a lot of things, really, but one thing I asked him specifically, was whether or not he expected that we would be here at this point in time. And here's what he had to say.

ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, I think virtually everyone thought that when we had a vaccine as effective and safe as the vaccines we'd have now, that we would get enough people vaccinated that we would handle the variant that we were dealing with and that we would have a diminution of infection, not only in the United States, but hopefully, if we were able to get vaccines to the low and middle income countries, that we could also, essentially, get our arms around as it were, the pandemic globally. The things that were not anticipated, was the extraordinary capability to have multiple sequential waves of new variants.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So as you're going to hear, a lot there. Specifically looking at what was unexpected and how this virus really surprised the top public health officials in the country, but also in the world. Back to you.

BRIAN SOZZI: Anjalee Khemlani, thanks so much.

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