Problems interrupt first COVID-19 Zoom briefing under Biden

Connection issues and other annoyances interrupted the Biden administration's first Zoom-based COVID-19 task force briefing on Wednesday.

Viewers of the roughly hourlong briefing sat through numerous technical difficulties over the course of the broadcast, as White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsFDA panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks MORE was forced on multiple occasions to assist participants with their devices and in some cases repeat questions from reporters to participants who could not hear them.

At one point, White House chief medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony FauciNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Underfunding classics and humanities is dangerous MORE joked that viewers had missed "a lot of really good stuff" as a result of audio issues that left his microphone silent for several moments as he began his segment of the briefing.


At other times, participants could be heard talking over each other or complaining about audio problems, apparently unaware that their own mics were live.

During Wednesday's broadcast, Fauci and other officials, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyOvernight Health Care: FDA panel endorses Johnson & Johnson vaccine | CDC director warns decline in cases 'may be stalling' | Biden administration buys 100,000 doses of Lilly antibody drug FDA panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine CDC director warns decline in COVID-19 cases 'may be stalling' in 'concerning shift' MORE, delivered updates on the Biden administration's COVID-19 strategy and said that the administration was on track to meet its goal of 100 vaccines administered during Biden's first 100 days in office.

The audio issues continued throughout the broadcast, however, and culminated in an amusing sign-off as Zients was forced to accept a second, hand-held microphone to replace the one in front of him on the table for the final seconds of the broadcast in order to thank the other participants and reporters who called in.

White House officials said this week that the Biden administration would host three briefings led by public health officials detailing the administration's efforts to fight COVID-19. White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Biden: Facility for young migrants 'won't stay open very long' Biden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president MORE told reporters on Monday that the new president will likely be briefed "far more regularly than the past president was briefed" on the issue of the pandemic.