Pfizer vaccine efficacy news is a 'game changer': Adm. Brett Giroir

White House coronavirus task force member Adm. Brett Giroir is interviewed on "This Week."
7:13 | 11/15/20

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Transcript for Pfizer vaccine efficacy news is a 'game changer': Adm. Brett Giroir
We're still faciery dark winter. The projections indicate we could lose 200,000 more lives in the coming months before a vaccine can be made widely availa we can't forego the important work that needs done between now and then to get our country through the worst wave of this pandemic. President-Elect Biden warning of the dark winter ahead as the U.S. Sets records every day for new coronavirus. This past week nearly 1 million people in this country diagnosed with the virus and just yesterday the nation surpassed 245,000 covid-19 deaths. As I spoke with Americans in the aftermath of the election, I found many who continue to downplay the pandemic. Do you not wear a mask because Donald Trump -- Absolutely not. That's -- I just don't believe in them. Same thing with me. Can the masks defend a microbe coming through the weaving of the fiber? I doubt it. I really doubt it. Do you guys not believe the scientists? Covid is real. Covid is absolutely real. I just lost my cousin. I never thought the disease was worth all the precautions and everything that went down as far as shutting down the country. Even though you're worried about the virus how do you feed your family? I'm more worried about that with something that has a 97.95 survival weight. Watch your hands. Eat well. Take your pro buy yot I cans and your vitamins. Do what we do during cold and flu season and pray for the best. We turn now to two experts on the pandemic. Admiral Brett Giroir and Dr. Atul gawande who was named to President-Elect Joe Biden's covid-19 advisory board. I want to begin with you, admiral Giroir. The news on a vaccine is so encouraging. Right now we're hitting those grim numbers. Some experts calling it in the United States a humanitarian disaster. The president has been downplaying the seriousness of it. You heard those trump supporters. You can have the constant reminders, you can tell them to wear a mask, but things are getting worse. What in the world do you do? Thank you for having me on, Martha. As you did point out, we had some remarkably positive news about the vaccine that's over 90% effective. That's a gamechanger and will bring an end game to the pandemic. However, we're in a critical situation today with over 180,000 cases yesterday. Hospitalizations up. Mortality up. I want to tell the American people we know what to do. We've done it many times before in the sunbelt in the south. The United Kingdom is doing that. You must physically distance. When you can't physically distance, everybody needs to wear a mask in public spaces. That's critically important. They do work. We have to do things like limit attendance, close bars and indoor restaurants. If we do these T combined with the testing, we can flatten the curve. If we don't do these things, the cases will continue to go up. The United Kingdom did T things. They kept the schools open and major businesses open. We can do that, but we have to do the other things. If we do that we'll flatten the curve and get to the time when we have the vaccine. It's not far O we could have 20 million doses by the end of the November and another 20 million at the end of December. I've been across the country. It's remarkable how in certain places, I will say in red states, they're not wearing masks. What do you do about that? How does that affect the curve everybody else might want to flatten? We all have to communicate very clear the science is clear. The evidence is overwhelming. Whether you want to look at biological data or epidemiology, city by city, state by state, masks do work. They're critical from spreading it to everybody else. We know it provides you protection from getting it from someone else. It's not just the little microbe. It's the droplets. Across the board whether these are local mandates, whether voluntary, whether public service messages, we have to have the American people wear masks when you can't physically distance. We have to limit the indoor spread by limiting bars and restaurants which are places U're indoors, not masked. We know that there can be significant transmission. We don't have to close schools. We don't have to close major industries. We have to be careful around the holiday time because even a large gathering within your household can be a way that it can spread. If you just Google CDC holiday gatherings, there's some very easy tips to keep your family safe. Admiral, we know who is not shouting that message to the American public. That's Donald Trump. "The Washington post" is reporting that the president has not attended a coronavirus task force meeting in at least five months. Is that accurate? That's true. The vice president does chair the coronavirus task force. Ce president -- we often have several cabinet members there. The vice president briefs the president every day or nearly every day on coronavirus. I'm not concerned that the president doesn't attend. The vice president is there, secretary Azar, the leadership that's there, Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci, myself, Dr. Hahn, Dr. Redfield. We're all working and the docs work every day together. Weut over 50 million of the card-based tests. Admiral, I want to -- sorry to interrupt. We're just short on time here. The head of operation warp speed who stood by the president is calling on the white house to allow his team to make contact with the Biden covid transmission team, which is being held up by the president who is not accepting the election results. You agree they should be given access and talk to the bide covid team? So, you know, I'm not the doctor. I can say from my point of view the gsa controls the transition process. My team, all the docs that work for us, we want to be extremely transparent. We are extremely transparent with the media, with outside experts -- Is it important to talk to the Biden team at this point? Yes or no? Look, I want to be as transparent as possible with everybody. Th is not a political issue. It's an issue of public health and saving American lives. There's nothing more important than that. Thank you very much, admiral.

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

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