White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tests positive for COVID, last saw Biden on Tuesday
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday she had tested positive for COVID-19 but was experiencing only mild symptoms thanks to the vaccine.
“Grateful I am vaccinated and for the amazing Biden team,” she said Sunday in a tweet.
She made the announcement noting that family members’ positive tests were her reason for skipping the European trip with the President.
“On Wednesday, in coordination with senior leadership at the White House and the medical team, I made the decision not to travel on the foreign trip with the President due to a family emergency, which was members of my household testing positive for COVID-19,” Psaki said in her statement.
She quarantined and tested negative from Wednesday to Saturday, she said.
“However, today I tested positive for COVID,” she tweeted Sunday. “While I have not had close contact in person with the President or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday – and tested negative for four days after that last contact – I am disclosing today’s positive test out of an abundance of transparency. I last saw the President on Tuesday, when we sat outside more than six feet apart, and wore masks.”
Psaki expressed gratitude for the vaccine, which made her symptoms mild, and said she was continuing to work, albeit from home. Her plan is to return to work in-person after 10 days of quarantine following a negative test.
That test is an “additional White House requirement, beyond CDC guidance, taken out of an abundance of caution,” she said.
Psaki is the second high-ranking administration official to come down with the virus. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for the virus two weeks ago.
Biden received his COVID booster shot, which restores original levels of vaccine protection, last Wednesday and left for Europe on Thursday. He’s attending first the Group of 20 summit in Rome, followed by the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
Psaki’s response differs markedly from those of top officials in the administration of former President Donald Trump. Trump left Walter Reed hospital after just a few days, while potentially still contagious, after he and then-First Lady Melania Trump tested positive in October of last year.
He promptly returned, maskless, to the White House and continued to downplay the pandemic that would go on to kill more than 700,000 people in the U.S. alone.
Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also tested positive last year, as did several other Trump administration officials.