By Kaitlan Collins, CNN
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who dropped off President Joe Biden’s international trip shortly before he departed, has tested positive for coronavirus after members of her household did, she said in a statement Sunday.
Psaki said she last saw Biden Tuesday outside while masked, before the President departed for Rome for the Group of 20 Summit, and that she had tested negative several times in between. Psaki said she was disclosing the positive test result “out of an abundance of transparency,” adding that she has experienced mild symptoms and is working remotely.
It’s unlikely Psaki could have infected Biden with Covid-19, several physicians told CNN Sunday.
“Based on the timeline of Ms. Psaki’s testing negative for multiple days following her last encounter with President Biden (which was also outside and masked, therefore very low risk in and of itself),” Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst and former Baltimore City health commissioner, said in an email.
The White House announced Thursday that Psaki would no longer join Biden on his trip abroad “for at least the first few days,” citing a family emergency. White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre instead traveled with the President.
“On Wednesday, in coordination with senior leadership at the White House and the medical team, I made the decision not to travel on the foreign trip with the President due to a family emergency, which was members of my household testing positive for COVID-19,” Psaki said in the Sunday statement. “Since then, I have quarantined and tested negative (via PCR) for COVID on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. However, today, I tested positive for COVID.”
She continued: “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.”
Biden received his Covid-19 vaccine booster shot last month and next heads to Monday’s United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Vice President Kamala Harris got her booster on Saturday.
Infectious diseases expert Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine also said he felt Biden was well protected.
“Well, he’s three times vaccinated, so he should be good unless he has immunodeficiencies we don’t know about,” Hotez told CNN by email.
This story has been updated with additional details Sunday.
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CNN’s Maggie Fox contributed to this report.