WASHINGTON (AP) – Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the White House said, stressing the resilience of the highly contagious virus, even as the United States eases restrictions on attempt to return to normal before the pandemic.
Harris spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said neither President Joe Biden nor First Lady Jill Biden had considered Harris’ “close contact” in recent days. Harris was scheduled to attend Biden’s presidential daily briefing Tuesday morning, but was not present, the White House said. Due to their travel schedules, the last time Harris saw Biden was on Monday, April 18th.
The vice president returned Monday from a week-long trip to the West Bank.
Harris tested positive in both rapid and PCR tests, but “showed no symptoms,” the White House said. She will be isolated at her residence, but will continue to work remotely and return to the White House only when her test for the virus is negative.
Harris, 57, received her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine weeks before taking office and a second dose just days after 2021. She received a booster in late October and an additional booster on April 1. Fully vaccinated and fortified people have a high level of protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19, especially from the most common and highly portable version of omicron.
Harris was diagnosed a month after her husband, Doug Emhoff, recovered from the virus as a wave of high-transmitting omicron subdivisions spread across Washington’s political class, infecting cabinet members and White House officials. and legislators including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Allen said Harris would follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “and the advice of her doctors.” It was not immediately clear whether she was being prescribed any antiviral treatments.
The White House has introduced strict COVID-19 protocols around the president, vice president and their spouses, including daily tests for those expected to be in close contact with them. Biden is being tested regularly on the advice of his doctor, the White House said.
After more than two years and nearly a million deaths in the United States, the virus still kills more than 300 people a day in the United States, according to the CDC. Unvaccinated people are at much higher risk, more than three times more likely to get a positive test and 20 times more likely to die from the virus than those who have received at least the primary dose of vaccines, according to the Public Health Agency.
Harris was diagnosed when the Biden administration took steps to increase the availability of the life-saving antiviral treatment for COVID-19 Paxlovid, assuring doctors that there was enough supply for people at high risk of serious illness or death from the virus.
Paxlovid has been shown to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths among patients most likely to develop severe illness within five days of the onset of symptoms.
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