Biden negative for COVID-19 after close contact, VP exposed

Politics

President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up as he boards Air Force One at Columbia Metropolitan Airport in West Columbia, S.C., en route to Philadelphia after speaking at the South Carolina State University’s 2021 Fall Commencement Ceremony in Orangeburg, S.C., Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday following separate incidents in which they were had close contact with aides who later tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said.

The incidents underscore how troublesome the pandemic is becoming inside the White House.

“This morning, President Biden received a PCR test and the test result was negative,” the White House press office emailed reporters Wednesday, referring to a sensitive test used to detect the presence of coronavirus.

Biden had close contact on Air Force One last Friday with a staff member who later tested positive for the coronavirus and showed signs of COVID-19, the White House said.

That led to additional testing for the 79-year-old president, who is regularly tested and has received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that Biden had had two negative tests since Sunday, and would be tested again on Wednesday.

That’s the test result that came back negative.

Psaki said the staff member was around the president for about 30 minutes last Friday on the flight from Orangeburg, South Carolina, to Philadelphia.

She said the staffer is fully vaccinated, had received a booster shot and had tested negative before boarding Air Force One.

Harris’ office said an aide who was with the vice president throughout Tuesday tested received a positive test result for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning.

Symone Sanders, Harris’ spokesperson, said the staffer is fully vaccinated, had received a booster and had tested negative every day last week as well as Monday and Tuesday of this week. The staffer did not experience symptoms of the disease, Sanders said.

Harris is also tested on a regular basis and is fully vaccinated and has received a booster dose. She tested negative Wednesday morning as part of that testing, Sanders said. After being informed of the staffer’s condition, Harris took a more sensitive test that also produced a negative result, Sanders said.

Harris will be tested again on Friday and next Monday, Sanders said, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC guidance does not require fully vaccinated people to quarantine after exposure, and Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, were set to depart Wednesday evening for Los Angeles, where she will stay through the New Year.

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