Nancy Pelosi tests positive for Covid after attending White House event with Biden

Covid breakthrough infections continue to vex top levels of government

John Bowden
Thursday 07 April 2022 23:47 BST
Nancy Pelosi tests positive for COVID-19
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Breakthrough Covid-19 infections continue to befall top officials in Washington DC as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the latest to announce a positive Covid test result on Thursday.

The speaker’s announcement came just before her scheduled weekly press conference, which was canceled in response.

Ms Pelosi “is currently asymptomatic”, a top aide tweeted, and had already received a booster shot.

“The Speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided,” said Drew Hammill.

Others who have tested positive in recent days include Attorney General Merrick Garland, who is currently in the spotlight due to the Justice Department’s role in prosecuting cases related to January 6 and the House’s votes to hold former members of the Trump administration in contempt.

Washington DC’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, also announced that she had tested positive on Thursday. Sen Susan Collins, a Republican, announced a diagnosis in the afternoon as well.

Officials at the White House said in a statement around noon that Mr Biden had been tested as recently as Wednesday evening and received a negative test result. They insisted in statements to The Independent that Mr Biden was not considered a close contact of the Speaker.

The two appeared together at a nearly hour-long event on Tuesday at the White House also attended by former President Barack Obama meant to celebrate the achievements of the Affordable Care Act. Mr Biden and Ms Pelosi embraced at the event, and were seen in close proximity at other times.

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that someone is considered to be in close contact if they were within six feet of someone with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 “starting two days before the infected person developed symptoms”. Ms Pelosi’s staff has said she is asymptomatic, but it is clear that the two were in the same room for more than 15 minutes, the grace period defined by CDC guidance.

“The President is not considered a close contact of Speaker Pelosi as defined by the CDC. The President saw Speaker Pelosi at White House events and had brief interactions over the course of the last two days,” claimed a spokesperson.

“Last night as a part of his regular testing cadence, the President tested negative. He will continue to be tested regularly. The President wishes Speaker Pelosi a speedy recovery,” they continued.

Members of Mr Biden’s own comms team including press secretary Jen Psaki and deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre were recently sidelined with the virus and a handful of members of Congress noted positive test results in mid-March.

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