Vice President Kamala Harris tests positive for COVID, has no symptoms; Joe Biden not ‘close contact’

WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the White House said, stressing the persistence of the highly contagious virus, even as the United States relaxes restrictions in an effort to return to normalcy before the pandemic.

Harris’s spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said neither President Joe Biden nor First Lady Jill Biden had been considered Harris’s “close contact” in recent days. Harris was scheduled to attend Biden’s presidential briefing on Tuesday morning, but was not present, the White House said. Because of their travel plans, the last time Harris saw Biden was on Monday, April 18th.

The vice president returned Monday from a weekly trip to the West Coast.

Harris tested positive for rapid and PCR, but “has no symptoms,” the White House said. She will be isolated at home, but will continue to work remotely and return to the White House only when the tests are negative for the virus.

Harris, 57, received her first dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine weeks before she took office and a second dose a few days after Inauguration Day 2021. She received a booster vaccine in late October and an extra booster on April 1. . Fully vaccinated and Enhanced individuals have a high degree of protection against serious disease and death from COVID-19, especially from the most common and highly contagious variant of the micron.

Harris’ diagnosis comes a month after her husband, Doug Emhoff, recovered from the virus as a wave of the highly contagious omicron variable spread to Washington’s political class, infecting cabinet members, including White House lawmakers, and lawmakers. of Parliament Speaker Nancy Pelosi. . Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Tested positive on Tuesday, his office said.

Allen said Harris would follow the instructions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “and the advice of her doctors”. It was not immediately clear if she was prescribed antiviral treatments.

The White House has implemented strict COVID-19 protocols around the president, vice president and their spouses, including daily tests for those expected to have close contact with them. Biden is being checked 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 continues to kill more than 300 people a day in the United States, according to the CDC. Unvaccinated people are at much higher risk, more than twice as likely to test positive and nine times more likely to die from the virus than those who have received at least one major dose of the vaccine, according to the public health service.

Harris’ diagnosis comes as the Biden government takes steps to extend the availability of life-saving COVID-19 Paxlovid antiviral therapy, reassuring doctors that there is ample supply for people at high risk of serious illness or death.

Paxlovid, when given within five days of the onset of symptoms, has been shown to result in a 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths among patients who are more likely to develop a serious illness.

In addition to her husband’s diagnosis, Harris was identified as a “close contact” after her communications manager tested positive on April 6.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines “close contact” with an infected person as spending 15 minutes or more with him or her over a 24-hour period. The CDC says that a “close contact” person does not need to be quarantined if they are aware of their vaccines, but should wear a suitable mask around other people for 10 days after contact.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Vice President Kamala Harris tests positive for COVID, has no symptoms; Joe Biden not ‘close contact’ Source link Vice President Kamala Harris tests positive for COVID, has no symptoms; Joe Biden not ‘close contact’

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