White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has tested positive for Covid-19, she revealed on Sunday evening as she cancelled her trip with President Biden to the G20 summit in Rome after her family members also tested positive for the virus. She quarantined and tested negative via PCR test on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but tested positive for the virus on Sunday.
Psaki, 42, had taken both the doses of the vaccine but still contracted the virus, making her the most visible member of the Biden administration to test positive. She also said that she was last in contact with the president on Tuesday, and the two had sat more than 6 feet apart while wearing masks during that meeting.
Maintaining Safe Distance
Although Psaki had maintained safe distance from other by deciding to quarantine despite not testing positive for Covid-19 on the first three days, she finally contracted the virus on Sunday. In a statement on Twitter, Psaki revealed that she made the decision to forgo Biden's foreign trip on Wednesday itself after she learned that members of her household had contracted the virus.
At the same time she also tried to clarify that Biden hopefully is safe as she hasn't been in contact with him since Tuesday, a day before she quarantined. "While I have not had close contact in person with the President or senior members of the White House Staff since Wednesday â and tested negative for four days after that last contact â I am disclosing today's positive test out of an abundance of transparency," she wrote.
"I saw the President on Tuesday, when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks."
Psaki's decision to pull out of Biden's trip to the Rome summit seems to be a timely and wise one. She has now been replaced on the trip by principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
She, however, said that she is only experiencing mild symptoms and doing fine and plans to return to work soon. "I will plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of the ten day quarantine following a negative rapid test, which is an additional White House requirement, beyond CDC guidance, taken out of an abundance of caution," she said.
Biden received his Covid-19 vaccine booster shot on Sept 27, shortly after federal regulators approved the third dose for many Americans. He is also tested every couple of weeks. The president will next head to Monday's United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Vice President Kamala Harris got her booster on Saturday.
White House staff and others traveling with the president have been undergoing daily tests for Covid-19 since before departing Washington and are all fully vaccinated. Many officials have also received booster shots, due to the close-quarters environment and frequent travel associated with their work.