Author: Jeff Mason and Trevor Hunnicutt
ROME / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was positive on COVID-19 on Sunday, she said in a statement, adding that she last saw President Joe Biden on Tuesday.
Psaki, 42, who said she was vaccinated and had mild symptoms, said she and the president sat outside more than 1.8 meters apart on Tuesday and wore masks. Biden was negative on a COVID-19 test on Saturday, a person familiar with the matter said.
“I’m revealing today’s positive test because of the abundance of transparency,” Psaki said.
Psaki, the White House chief spokeswoman, is the most high-profile figure in the Biden administration, known to have contracted COVID-19 since taking office in January.
Psaki decided not to join Biden on his trip to Rome and Glasgow this week because a member of her household was positive for the virus and then she was quarantined, she said.
He has been in quarantine since Wednesday and was negative several times before being positive on Sunday, she said.
Psaki intended to return to work after the end of a 10-day quarantine after a negative COVID-19 rapid test, she said in a statement.
The White House is struggling to control a pandemic, with millions of Americans rejecting life-saving vaccines.
Psaki said earlier this year that Biden, who is fully vaccinated, is randomly tested every two weeks as a control, at the request of his doctor Kevin O’Connor. Biden, 78, received three injections against CfID-19 from Pfizer Inc / BioNTech, including an acceleration last month.
The White House declined to disclose the number of breakthrough COVID-19 infections that occurred among staff.
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump avoided masks and reduced the severity of the virus in its early stages. He fell ill with COVID-19 in the quiescent phase of the 2020 presidential campaign, and many of his employees, including former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, fell ill with the disease.
(Report by Jeff Mason in Rome and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Written by Laura Sanicola and Simon Lewis; Edited by Diane Craft, Noeleen Walder and Peter Cooney)