Coronavirus crisis: Vaccine rollout grows amid travel ban and variant concerns

Dr. Todd Ellerin discusses how the reinstated travel restrictions could help protect from dangerous COVID-19 variants, and a new report that breast milk can help young kids fight COVID-19.
9:26 | 01/25/21

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Transcript for Coronavirus crisis: Vaccine rollout grows amid travel ban and variant concerns
The pandemic in the efforts to ramp up the vaccine roll out more than 41 million doses have been distributed nearly 22 million have been administered. And we're starting to see some encouraging signs cases are declining in some parts of the country. And hospitalizations are the lowest they've been in more than a month but there are growing concerns over those new variants of the virus either pilgrim has the latest. This morning as concerns intensify strategist Covert very it's predominantly from overseas. ABC news has learned the US will begin restricting travel from South Africa. Standing at most if not US citizens who have recently traveled to the country from entering the State's. As well as re imposing the travel ban for Brazil the UK Ireland and 26 countries across Europe. In an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. The move comes as the U came variant which scientists say is likely more contagious than the initial version and possibly making more dangerous. Has already been reported in at least 22 states even if the virus ended up not being any more deadly the fact that it is more contagious means it's gonna end up infecting a lot more people. And cause more costs positions and a lot more desk so the fact that it is more contagious is a real source of concern I think for all of us this weekend the US crossing yet another milestone more than 25 million cope but nineteen cases reported here since the start of the pandemic. According to the Coca tracking project. Last week an average of two Americans tested positive every second with one death reported every thirty seconds the push to get vaccines distributed urge it. But slow. Finally passing the milestone forty million shots administered. Announced this week hit a number the previous administration had anticipated to reach in December. But some states now temporarily canceling appointments. Saying they don't have supply in stock. Millions of doses are being delivered throughout the country every week. But a New York City city feel the hold of the bats was supposed to open as a mass vaccination site this week. City officials telling ABC news that plant has been delayed due the shortage of vaccine on the federal level the new CDC director frustrated by the passed down she was given by the previous administration. I can't tell you how much vaccine we house. And if I can't tell it to you that I can't tell it to the governor is and I can't tell it to the state health officials if they don't know how much vaccine are getting not just this week but next week and the week after they can't plan. And more vaccine could be on the way to help supply mass vaccination sites like this when Johnson Johnson is expecting their final phase three results sometime in the next two weeks and that means. That they could be before the FDA for emergency use authorization at. By mid February that vaccine is a single. Dose vaccine Diane dragging a pilgrim at the vaccination site in Jones beach New York even thank you. An earlier today doctor anti fat she spoke to Good Morning America about the new club. And the difference between working for the trump administration and the Biden administration take a listen. So we've seen this announcement the travel ban from South Africa every imposing travel bans to other areas but at this point are they really gonna do any good. Did I believe so George I think that was a prudent decision because. Right now even though our surveillance is and as comprehensive as we'd like it to be yet. It does not appear that this. Particulate mutiny is in the United States all the wood will may be put its you have as a free inflow of people. From a country in which that mutiny is clearly dominant I talked to my colleagues often in South Africa reed clearly is dominant there. I believe the travel ban will be important addition. To having a situation where anybody coming into the country now is gonna rebuke quiet to have a negative test before they even get on the plane. When they land to have a degree of quarantine as well as another test so. I believe it was prudent even though it's never perfect as always there's a possibility. And even a likelihood of some slippage. But to but I think the band in which was discussed. Very intensively by the group was the right decision you've been under a lot of pressure. Over the last year what's the number one change you. Notice between from president Biden to president Biden from president trump. It was very clear George and it was articulated multiple times the president has said it publicly but in a private session just sitting down with him in with a medical team. He's very serious he says science is gonna rule we're gonna go by the facts we're gonna go by the evidence we're gonna go by the data. If something is wrong like I just said footage is try and fix it. And we're gonna pull out all the stops to get our arms around this getting the vaccine situation. On track. Is his highest. Priority. So I mean the idea that the president himself. Sits down with you and says I want science to rule go out there and do everything we need to do to get it done. Just is really very refreshing he also face here's personal threats over the last terrorist kind of horror far dream you had one incident. Where you open up an envelope and feared you were poisoned. Kidd that was good that was very dramatic good do it but more so for my wife and children who just moved. Really really. Horrified by that because you know for a while there is I said. In the times article you know that worries me possibilities either it was a hoax which I was hoping and praying it was. It was anthrax. Which would require my taking you know thirty is sixty days and but Cipro or it was rice and which means that was dead and no matter what you could do so fro point oh yeah. Until the FBI and the Hazmat people figured out what it was. It was a very very difficult period. Well we are glad you are OK doctor fashion thanks for time this morning. Matt good to be with you George. I'm for more let's bring ABC news medical contributor and sells for health infectious disease specialist doctor Todd Halloran. A doctor valor and good morning you know we just heard there from doctor found T discussing president Biden's plan to reinstate a travel ban. Mr. variant from South Africa that is very from the UK the other one in Brazil how dangerous are these what should we know about them right now. To get good morning Diane you know I think this troubled and does make sense because. They're variant especially the south African Berrian appears to be more contagious. And also appears to be resistant to some of the monoclonal antibodies. And it got in the way out we've seen that some patients who didn't previously infected had actually had a decreased. Immune response when tested on lab so this is concerning. Variant any goodness more contagious believes more hospitalizations and deaths Sawyer do you think the travel ban be reinstated makes sense. And we're hearing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could soon be approved in the US how long do you think. Until that happens and how significant will that be. Well I know I think this is very significant it and the reason is because this is single dose vaccine. And with a single dose vaccine if it's effective you can imagine that's going to really change the landscape global logistics and make it much easier to give. More vaccines we're very hopeful how wanted to do wanna say though oh previous. Vaccination against the Vieri and he's a press release today by majority. Basically showed that they are vaccine. Elicits neutralizing antibodies in a robust way against. The UK and the south African vary so that is very very promising and makes one thing that he's gonna work it and who the real life situation. Us a report that breast milk could help young children fight off the virus halogen is that. OK so breast milk can. In general is one of the best strategies to boost the immune system of the injured that's always been shown it's been show the breast milk. Reduces lower respiratory tract infections would make sands. Got moms who have worked culvert. From corporate nineteen fighting breast feeding their babies that they're gonna give the baby is those type of antibodies that are really going to improve. The babies defenses against Kobe in nineteen and it Habibie. Gets cold in nineteen perhaps if you don't have much less severe disease like I'm I'm thumbs up on that strategy to breastfeed her. I like it we also heard from a viewer today it was asking about the need to keep masks on after being vaccinated so I was hoping to just. Reiterate that and explain why. OK so Diana's is a really important question. I think ultimately if you were in Peru where everyone is vaccinated fully vaccinated. And then it's reasonable to tape the masks often knowing the you are correct she's not a hot. 100% so if you someone is very compromised among your group made up personable believe the masks on court maybe you'll choose to leave the masks on but importantly what happened. The improvement is it the vaccines can reduce transmission so I didn't actually it already but the reason I'm wearing my mask it's still possible that I could be infected I mean not not develop any disease but I can help virus replicating in the back of my nose and potentially potentially transmit to others so that's what if you're interbrew and we are there is unease even vaccination you wanna keep those masks on and keep the distance there. And my doctor Todd L I always great to have you thank you. T cured and.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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