White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tests positive for COVID-19 for second time
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
Psaki was in socially distanced meetings with President Joe Biden on Monday, March 21, 2022, but he tested negative for the virus via a PCR test, according to the White House.
Biden, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, is routinely tested for the virus, with testing also performed on staff he comes in close contact with.
The White House said that Psaki and Biden’s contact March 21 did not fall under the CDC’s definition of “close contact.”
None of the reporters in the White House briefing room are considered to have been in close contact with Psaki either and the White House says it is conducting internal contact tracing as appropriate.
Psaki, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, is reportedly suffering from mild symptoms and plans to work remotely during a five-day isolation period.
Her case comes as Europe begins to see an uptick in a highly contagious sub-variant of the omicron variant of the virus. Health experts are concerned that Europe’s spike could be a sign of things to come in the U.S. as mask mandates and other mitigation measures have been relaxed.
The sub-variant tends not to be as severe as other variants but is thought to spread easily among humans.
U.S. coronavirus cases and hospitalization rates had been declining, but have recently started to plateau in many parts of the country, raising concern that another increase in cases could be building. Testing of wastewater has also shown increases in COVID-19 markers in many communities.
All this comes as immunity from previous vaccinations, boosters and prior infections begins to wane. Two major vaccine manufacturers are seeking emergency approval for a fourth booster.
The White House did not indicate what variant Psaki tested positive for.
Psaki previously tested positive for COVID-19 Oct. 31, 2021. At the time she expressed she was thankful for being vaccinated and survived the case without being hospitalized.
Her positive test comes as Biden prepares to travel to Brussels to attend a NATO summit, meeting of the G-7 and a European Council Summit as well as visiting Poland.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict is expected to be a central topic of all of the meetings on the agenda.
The White House has not announced any plans to modify Biden’s schedule.
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.