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White House official: US must respond to rising COVID-19 cases ‘with care and caution, but not overreacting’

AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha on Sunday said the U.S. should respond to the rising number of coronavirus cases “with care and caution, but not overreacting.”

The number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has been on the rise, hitting roughly 66,000 infections on Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Asked by co-anchor Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” about the rise, Jha said the nation should react to the increasing infections differently now compared to one year ago because the U.S. now has vaccines, booster shots and therapeutics.

“We would have reacted to this differently a year ago. Cases are still important, infections are still important, we want to keep those infection numbers low, but they mean something different now than they did a year ago. Right?” Jha said.

“They mean something different because people are vaccinated and boosted, they mean something different because we have a lot more therapeutics available. So we are going to have to change our behavior and respond in a different way as the pandemic evolves,” he added.

The White House official said it is “critical” that the U.S. responds to the current situation “with care and caution, but not overreacting.”

Jha on Sunday also told Bash that he expects Moderna to submit an application to receive emergency use authorization for its vaccine for children five years old and younger next week.

“Throughout the whole pandemic we have made these determinations based on what we have evidence and data. Right now, neither Moderna nor Pfizer have yet submitted an application for emergency authorization. We expect Moderna to do that this week,” Jha said.

“And then the [Food and Drug Administration] scientists are gonna do what they have done throughout the whole pandemic, right, which is they’re gonna evaluate the data, they are gonna assess it for safety and effectiveness, and they’re gonna make a determination of when, when it meets their standards they’re gonna make that determination,” he added.

Pressed by Bash on when that could be, Jha said it is difficult to “pre-judge that analysis.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday said a vaccine for children under five may not be approved for emergency use until June.

Tags Ashish Jha Coronavirus COVID-19 Dana Bash FDA Moderna

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