Joe Biden’s press secretary has tested positive for Covid-19, one of the highest-ranking members of his administration with coronavirus infection.
Jane Psaki said she last met the US president five days ago, and withdrew from the delegation to the G20 meeting in Rome and the COP26 summit in Glasgow after her family members tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. Psaki added that she sat with the president outdoors “more than six feet apart, wearing masks” on Tuesday.
Biden, who is 78 in a high-risk category, was fully vaccinated with a Pfizer dose and received a booster dose late last month. He has so far met the Pope and European leaders including Britain’s Boris Johnson, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Mario Draghi during his visit.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request regarding Biden’s latest Covid-19 findings.
Psaki held a White House press conference attended by reporters on Wednesday, before she worked from home quarantine.
She said that the first day she tested positive for the virus was on Sunday, after negative results were recorded on each of the previous days.
“Although I have not had close personal contact with the President or senior White House staff since Wednesday — and tested negative for four days after this last contact — I am disclosing today’s positive test out of an abundance of transparency,” he added.
“Thanks to the vaccine, I only experienced mild symptoms, which enabled me to continue working from home,” she said. She added that she plans to return to work in person at the conclusion of a 10-day quarantine after a negative rapid test, which she described as an additional White House requirement that goes beyond CDC guidelines.
Alejandro Mallorcas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, are among the senior members of the Biden administration who have previously contracted the disease and recovered. Both have been vaccinated.
The White House has recorded multiple so-called Covid-19 cases of vaccinated individuals. But it does not disclose their status unless the person is in direct contact with the president or decides to make a personal announcement.
Donald Trump, Biden’s predecessor, was hospitalized with Covid-19 during his presidency. He received intensive treatment last October and was discharged from hospital after three days. He was 74 years old at the time.