Deputy press secretary tests positive for COVID-19 after European trip

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary, has tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Europe.

Jean-Pierre had been traveling abroad with President Joe Biden, who was attending several meetings of international bodies and visiting refugees in Poland.

Biden and Jean-Pierre were in a socially distanced meeting as recently as Saturday, March 26, 2022. Because Biden is fully vaccinated and boosted, his contact with Jean-Pierre, along with the social distancing, means he is not considered to have been in close contact under CDC guidelines.

Jean-Pierre is fully vaccinated and boosted and says she is experiencing “mild symptoms.”

Although it’s not clear when she may have contracted the virus, Europe has seen an uptick in cases driven heavily by the omicron subvariant BA.2 that is now spreading to the U.S.

BA.2 is considered less likely to cause severe illness, hospitalization or death, but is thought to spread more easily. Vaccination, boosters and masking in public remain highly effective ways to protect oneself from the virus, including the latest subvariant, even though the vaccines were not directly developed with it in mind.

There are concerns that the U.S. could see an increase is cases as BA.2 spreads with serious illness possible among the unvaccinated and unboosted in particular. Waning immunity from the first two doses of various vaccines or prior infections is a concern of health officials.

Biden and much of the White House staff are tested for coronavirus frequently. The White House said he tested positive via a PCR test before returning to the U.S. as part of the normal requirements for re-entering the country.

Jen Psaki, Jean-Pierre’s boss, tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the trip and Jean-Pierre will follow the same five day isolation period as Psaki before returning to work.

Coronavirus vaccines and boosters are highly recommended by multiple public health officials and experts. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters have undergone extensive testing and monitoring to ensure their safety. Scientific research has shown the vaccines and boosters to be very safe and highly effective in decreasing the likelihood of contracting the illness and, if one does become sick, symptoms are less severe and less likely to lead to hospitalization or death. For more information about COVID-19 and coronavirus, visit the CDC website. You can locate a free vaccination site or clinic near you at Vaccines.gov. As with any medical decision, you should always discuss your options with your doctor.