Psaki swipes at reporter, says White House won't release records on White House ...

Psaki swipes at reporter, says White House won't release records on White House ...
Psaki swipes at reporter, says White House won't release records on White House ...

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday refused a reporter's request to release information on staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

During a press briefing Psaki was asked if the White House was 'trying to hide something' by withholding who and how many people tested positive.

'No but why do you need to have that information?' she retorted.

'Transparency,' the reporter said. 'The interest of the public. A better understanding of how breakthrough cases work here in the White House.' 

Her answer, from an administration that has pledged to be the most transparent in history, comes as at least two COVID cases emerged in Washington following meetings Speaker Nancy Pelosi held with Texas state lawmakers who fled in a bid to stall a controversial voting rights bill.

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Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to say how many breakthrough COVID cases the White House has had amid a number of positive cases after a DC event with Texas Democrats

When pressed about transparency Psaki tried to explain the situation surrounding the pandemic was 'different' now

Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to say how many breakthrough COVID cases the White House has had amid a number of positive cases after a DC event with Texas Democrats

Psaki admitted Tuesday that a staffer at the White House and in Pelosi's office have tested positive - and that 'there have been' other breakthrough cases as well.

The press secretary's excuse for why the White House is staying silent is that the pandemic is in a 'different place.' 

'Those who are vaccinated are protected from serious illness, most are asymptomatic - if they are individuals who are vaccinated who get the virus. And, you know, we are in a different place in terms of the impact of individuals who may have, as you said, breakthrough cases,' Psaki explained.

After being pressed she simply pointed to CDC efforts to track breakthrough cases around the US. 

The official maintained that all White House staff were offered a vaccine - though they haven't mandated getting the shot nor would she state what percentage of President Biden's staff are vaccinated.

The contentious exchange comes as the US grapples with a significant spike in COVID cases and a small but alarming increase in deaths.

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Psaki also said the White House would not be mandating staffers to get vaccinated nor would she disclose what percentage of staff already have been (White House stock image)

Psaki also said the White House would not be mandating staffers to get vaccinated nor would she disclose what percentage of staff already have been (White House stock image)

The Delta variant, a highly contagious strain of the virus that originated in India, accounts for more than 80 percent of active cases 

Psaki also said Friday it is not the role of the administration to 'place blame' after the governor of Alabama called out Americans who have refused to get vaccinated for the rising COVID rates in the U.S.   

'I don't think our role is to place blame, but what we can do is provide accurate information to people who are not yet vaccinated about the risks they are incurring not only on themselves, but also the people around them,' she said.

Psaki's comments came after Alabama Governor Kay Ivey blamed Americans who have refused to get vaccinated against coronavirus for rising COVID case rates. Ivey's state and others across the South are hammered by new infections - with three states in the region now accounting for 40 percent of active cases nationwide. 

'Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,' Ivey, a Republican, told reporters on Thursday.  

Psaki kept the White House response focused on educating people who are not vaccinated about why they should get the shot in the arm. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it is not the role of the administration to 'place blame'

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (pictured) said that 'it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated' for the new wave of COVID-19 cases

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday it is not the role of the administration to 'place blame' after the governor of Alabama Kay Ivey called out Americans who have refused to get vaccinated for the rising COVID rates in the U.S. 

Psaki also refused to entertain the possibility the administration would put vaccine mandates in place as the vast majority of new cases have been reported in people who are not vaccinated.

'That's not the role of the federal government,' Psaki said when asked about mandates. 'That is the role that institutions, private sector entities and others may take.'

President Joe Biden and his officials have take to calling COVID 'a pandemic of the unvaccinated'

President Joe Biden and his officials have take to calling COVID 'a pandemic of the unvaccinated'

She did express sympathy for Governor Ivey. 

'We understand her frustration, and we understand the frustrations of leaders out there, and the public voices who are trying to say the right thing, advocate for the efficacy of the virus, save people in their communities.'

She also said any chance to face mask policy was in the hands of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

'We're always going to follow the guidance of our health and medical experts,' Psaki said. 

President Joe Biden and his officials have take to calling COVID 'a pandemic of the unvaccinated' as they urge Americans to get their shot.

'We have a pandemic for those who haven't gotten a vaccination,' the president said this week at a CNN town hall meeting.

He said it was 'gigantically important' Americans get vaccinated.  

'If you're vaccinated, you're not going to be hospitalized, you're not going to be in the IC unit, and you're not going to die,' Biden said. 'So it's gigantically important that ... we all act like Americans who care about our fellow Americans.' 

COVID-19 cases have increased by 312 percent in Alabama over the past two weeks

COVID-19 cases have increased by 312 percent in Alabama over the past two weeks

Cases in Texas have grown by 162 percent over the past two weeks

Cases in Texas have grown by 162 percent over the past two weeks

Cases in Missouri have grown by 108 percent over the past two weeks

Cases in Missouri have grown by 108 percent over the past two weeks

Cases in Florida have grown by 500 percent over the past two weeks

Cases in Florida have grown by 500 percent over the past two weeks

Missouri, Florida and Texas now account for 40 percent of current cases nationwide, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said Thursday. He noted that those three have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with 41.4 percent, 48 percent and 43 percent of residents fully-vaccinated, respectively. 

'For the second week in a row, one in five of all cases occurring in Florida alone. And within communities, these cases are primarily among unvaccinated people,' he said.

In Ivey's state of Alabama - where only 42 percent of residents are fully vaccinated - daily new cases have increased by 312 percent over the past two weeks, from 275 on July 8 to 1,133 on July 22. 

Zients noted, however, that several states with the highest proportion of new infections - including Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada - are now finally beginning to see their vaccination rates rise faster than the nation as a whole - a sign that the threat of the fourth wave is finally hitting home.

In the past week more than two million Americans received their first dose of a vaccine - a 14 percent increase from the week prior.   

Florida in particular accounts for nearly 20 percent of active cases.

The state recorded 12,647 new cases on Wednesday, the highest total the state has recorded since the massive winter wave of the virus.

Cases in the state have grown by nearly 500 percent in the past two weeks, with a seven day average of 1,493 new cases on July 6, and 8,912 on July 20.

A majority of the cases are among the unvaccinated as well. 

'If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals ... over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all,' Governor Ron DeSantis said Wednesday. 

'These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality.'  

While DeSantis is a supporter of the vaccines, he has previously opposed vaccine mandates, even banning the use of vaccine passport in his state.

Florida has the most vaccinated population of any state in the south, though, with 56 percent of residents having received at least one shot of the virus. 

The Indian Delta variant, a highly contagious strain of the virus that originated in the south Asian nation, accounts for more than 80 percent of active cases in the state as well.  

In the past week more than two million Americans received their first vaccine dose - a 14 percent increase from the week prior

In the past week more than two million Americans received their first vaccine dose - a 14 percent increase from the week prior

Missouri was one of the first states to get hammered by the new, Delta Variant led, COVID surge sweeping across the nation.

The southwestern region of the state in particular was hammered at the start of this month.

Mercy Health and CoxHealth in Springfield, Missouri, the biggest city in the region, both were swamped with cases over July 4 weekend. Mercy in particular even faced ventilator shortages.

Missouri's situation has only gotten worse since then as well.

Cases have more than doubled over the past two weeks, from 1,077 average new daily cases on July 8 to 2,244 average new cases on July 22 - a 108 percent increase.  

More than half of active cases in the state are of the Delta variant.  

Many cases in the state can also be tied to Branson, Missouri, a small tourist destination is the southwest of the state without a mask mandate.

Missouri has a vaccination rate of 47 percent, a figure that Republican Governor Mike Parson is trying to raise.

On Tuesday, Parson announced that Missouri would become the latest state to launch a vaccine lottery.

What about your boss, Jen? Psaki promises to continue 'fighting' 'misinformation' after Biden falsely told CNN town hall 'you're not going to get COVID if you have vaccinations' and struggled to explain FDA approval

The White House said on Friday it would continue to tackle COVID-19 misinformation online amid growing

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