On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham announced that he tested positive for COVID-19, despite being vaccinated. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration wishes him a “speedy recovery” and pointed to data showing that breakthrough COVID-19 infections are “rare and mild.”
- Senator Lindsey Graham has announced that he has tested positive for COVID after being vaccinated. And will be doing some self-isolating, which could have an impact on, for example, the bipartisan infrastructure. So what is your reaction to that?
And secondly, does the administration feel like they need to give more sources of information on breakthrough cases given the anecdotal experience many people are having of seeing more incidents of that? Beyond just the issue of hospitalizations and deaths, but more information about how much the breakthrough cases are spreading.
JEN PSAKI: Well, let me first say that every single piece of available evidence shows that breakthrough infections are rare and mild. And that is according to a range of data. So according to new research from Kaiser Family Foundation from January to July, the rate of breakthrough cases reported to states is below 1%.
We've seen data come out from England, Scotland, Canada, and Israel showing that vaccines are about 80% effective in preventing illness from Delta, and about 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations by Delta. CDC is actively tracking tens of thousands of people in cohort studies, as I think you know, and we've talked about a little bit in here.
Some of them doing weekly PCR testing, which includes health care professionals, first responders, hospitalized adults, and people in long-term care facilities. Also, states and hospital associations are reporting their own data. Now, we know there's an interest in getting that data. We support that.
Dr. Walensky says that they plan to release that as well, which we, of course, support as well, and it's important for you all to look at. But I would note that-- and I thought this was important, because if you look at the power of vaccinations, you're looking at specifically the numbers of-- according to seven day averages of January versus July.
January is, of course, the lighter numbers, and then the darker number is July. And if you look at hospital admissions and deaths, this is really because of the impact of the vaccine. And how effective it is at preventing people from being hospitalized and dying from COVID.
We certainly do hope that Senator Graham has a speedy recovery and experiences mild symptoms. And, you know, we wish him the best of health through that.