Covid live updates: Unvaccinated New York State judge could be removed
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, tested positive for the coronavirus for the second time in five months on Tuesday, a day before she was due to accompany President Biden on a diplomatic trip to Europe.
Ms Psaki took a test for the virus on Tuesday morning and it came back positive, she said in a statement, adding that she would not join Mr Biden and top officials at a NATO summit where the president will urge allies to be more economical to work sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Ms Psaki said she had two meetings with Mr Biden on Monday that were socially distanced and that she and the president were not considered to be in close contact Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The CDC defines close contact as being less than two meters away from an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more in any 24-hour period.
Mr Biden tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, Ms Psaki said in her statement.
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Sources: State and local health authorities (cases, deaths); US Department of Health and Human Services (Hospitalizations).
“Thanks to the vaccine, I only have mild symptoms,” she said. “In accordance with White House Covid-19 protocols, I will be working from home and plan to return to work in person after a five-day isolation period and testing negative.”
Ms Psaki’s positive case comes as the White House grapples with the toll of an ongoing two-year-old pandemic, while also resuming the presidency’s usual routine, including travel abroad.
The administration has faced a number of positive cases in recent days. Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, tested positive. Ms Harris stood next to Mr Biden during a law signing the same day. The vice president tested negative on Sunday, her spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said on Tuesday.
Mr Biden was also forced to cancel face-to-face meetings with Prime Minister Micheal Martin of Ireland last week after the PM received a positive result. The president was at a gala with Mr. Martin the night before, but was not in close contact with him, according to White House officials.
Congress has also seen a spate of new cases. Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said Tuesday that he tested positive.
Hillary Clinton also announced a positive test result on Tuesday. write on twitter that she had “some mild cold symptoms” but was “feeling fine.” She said former President Bill Clinton has tested negative but is in quarantine.
“Movie recommendations appreciated!” She wrote.
While virus cases are declining in the United States, a highly transmissible Omicron subvariant called BA.2 is spreading rapidly in parts of China and Europe. The rise in cases in Europe is partly due to government officials easing precautionary measures too quickly, said Dr. Hans Kluge, a senior World Health Organization official in the region, on Tuesday.
Still, White House officials have said their focus is on returning the United States to a place of prepandemic normalcy, and the White House has not reinstated mask-wearing mandates or capacity limitations to curb the spread of the virus.
The CDC issued guidelines last month that suggested most Americans could stop wearing masks, and even before that governors across the country had moved to lift pandemic restrictions themselves.
The announcement of Ms Psaki’s positive test came minutes after she was scheduled to deliver the daily press briefing with Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser. It was understood she and Mr. Sullivan were not in close contact Tuesday, White House officials said.
Ms Psaki did not meet with Mr Biden on Tuesday, officials said.
Chris Meagher, an assistant White House press secretary, represented Ms. Psaki at the briefing. He said that no member of the news media was in close contact with Ms Psaki during Monday’s daily press briefing.
The White House said Karine Jean-Pierre, the deputy chief press secretary, will travel to Europe with Mr. Biden.
Ms Psaki’s last positive test also came in October as the White House prepared for international travel. She cut short a trip to Europe after learning members of her family had contracted the virus. Her own positive test came days later.
Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.