White House testing czar: More infectious COVID strain is no more dangerous
Adm. Brett Giroir, the White House coronavirus testing czar, expressed confidence that a new, more infectious strain of the vaccine detected in the U.K. is no more deadly than the more common strain.
“We don’t know if it’s here or not, there’s certainly a possibility that it’s here or not,” Giroir said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It is not any more serious than the normal stains of COVID. You can still protect yourself by the mitigation measures … we have no evidence to suggest, nor do we believe that the vaccine would not be effective.”
Giroir added that “we would certainly encourage states to have quarantine orders or to have testing once these travelers arrive” from the U.K., but noted existing protocols for travelers from the U.K. and continental Europe that are already in place.
Asked if public health officials anticipated a surge in infection as a result of the holiday season, Giroir said, “it really depends on what the travelers do when they get where they’re going.”
“We know the actual physical act of traveling in airplanes for example can be quite safe,” he added. “What we really worry about is the mingling of bubbles once you get to your destination.”
Giroir also discussed the continued distribution of vaccines and said that there could be issues with President Trump receiving the vaccine immediately due to the presence of monoclonal antibodies after his own bout with the virus.
However, he said, for “President Trump, for his own protection, and to set an example for the 75 million people who voted for him, I think it’s a great idea.”
Asked when the vaccine is likely to be available to anyone who wants it, Giroir said “Even with just the vaccines we have right now we still expect any American who wants a vaccine can be vaccinated by June … that’s really exciting.”