White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to reveal the number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases in the White House even as a reporter pointed to the administration’s promise of “transparency.”
The story: Psaki was asked about the number of coronavirus cases that have emerged among White House staff that has been fully vaccinated.
The press secretary refused to say how many White House staffers have tested positive for coronavirus.
The exchange: A reporter then pointed out that the Biden administration has promised “transparency” and asked why the White House won’t release “the number of breakthrough cases” of “vaccinated staffers.”
Psaki avoided giving a direct answer to the question.
“I think, first, we’re in a very different place than we were six to seven months ago as it relates to the virus,” the press secretary said. “And as many medical experts have said inside and outside of the government of those who are vaccinated are protected of serious illness, most are asymptomatic if they are individuals who are vaccinated who get the virus.”
However, the reporter pressed further.
“Why not just provide the number?” the reporter reiterated. “Are you trying to hide something?”
“No, but why do you need to have that information?” Psaki asked.
The reporter again cited “transparency,” said it was in the “interest of the public” to know and that the information would help provide a “better understanding of how breakthrough cases work” at the White House.
Psaki did not answer the original question, but said that the CDC tracks breakthrough cases of vaccinated individuals in the U.S. as well as “a great deal of tracking in cohorts.”
“For example, the CDC has a long-term care facility study where it is getting data from more than 14,000 long-term care facilities,” Psaki continued. “CDC has a health care worker study where they monitor vaccinated health care workers who got tested, who get tested with PCR test every single week.”
“And CDC also collects what they call passive surveillance which is where hospitals provide CDC with data where they identify someone who is hospitalized but has been vaccinated,” Psaki added.
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