Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, becoming the second high-profile political figure to get the virus in recent weeks, according to her office.
According to her office, Harris took both fast and PCR tests, both of which came back positive. The vice president’s office stated that she “had not been a close contact” with President Biden or first lady Jill Biden due to their travel patterns.
“She has shown no symptoms,” Harris spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said in a statement. “She will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence.”
“She will adhere to CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] rules as well as her doctors’ recommendations. “When she tests negative, the Vice President will return to the White House,” Allen continued.
Harris, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, tested positive for COVID-19 weeks after a number of high-ranking Democrats in Congress and Biden administration officials caught the virus.
Harris was supposed to meet with Biden for the President’s Daily Briefing on Tuesday morning, but it’s unclear if that meeting went happened.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday that Biden tested negative on Monday.
Last week, Harris visited California, first in Los Angeles for a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, then in San Francisco, and back to Los Angeles. On Monday, she returned from Los Angeles.
According to Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, he is not aware of any discussions about whether Harris is receiving treatments as a result of her positive test.
He also stressed the need for immunizations and medicines in combating the BA.2 variant’s spread.
“If you take a step back and look at the vice president, you’ll notice that she’s been promoted twice. There’s a very contagious variety out there.
It will be difficult to assure that no one in America contracts COVID. That isn’t even a policy objective. Our approach should aim to “minimize infection whenever possible while also ensuring that people do not become gravely ill,” he said.
Doug Emhoff, Harris’s husband, was the first of the first and second couples to contract COVID-19. On March 15, he tested positive, prompting a barrage of concerns about Harris’s interaction and whether she should be wearing a mask around the president and others. During Emhoff’s bout with the coronavirus, she continued to test negative.
On Tuesday, two Democratic senators, Chris Murphy (Conn.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) tested positive for COVID-19 (Ore.).
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Attorney General Merrick Garland both had the coronavirus earlier this month.
Following a surge of positive cases surrounding the president earlier this month, the White House initially confirmed that Biden could get COVID-19.
“I wouldn’t say it’s just a matter of time,” Jha said on Tuesday. “Of course, the president, like every other American, might have COVID.” “There is no such thing as 100 percent.”
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Psaki was asked how she would handle a hypothetical question concerning the line of succession if Biden and Harris both had COVID-19 and became “extremely unwell.”
“Well, the Speaker of the House is officially the third in line. So there you have it. No, I’m only reiterating what you already know. It’s true that, as we’ve already stated, the president might test positive. If that happens, we’ll be very open with you,” Psaki said.
She did say, though, that she believes Biden would be allowed to remain as president if he tested positive.
“He has access to the best health care in the world, and we believe that, as a result of all the safeguards and steps we’ve taken, he’ll be able to continue his duties as vice president,” she said.
Officials emphasize that he has been vaccinated, and Psaki stated last week that if Biden were to contract the virus, it would not represent a failure of the safeguards in place to protect him.
In light of Harris’ positive test, Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that no changes to White House standards, including masking protocols, are expected.
She highlighted that the president and vice president, as well as authorities surrounding them, are subjected to regular testing, that there is social separation in meetings, and that a lot of aides choose to wear masks.