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Vice President Kamala Harris tests positive for Covid

<i>Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>Vice President Kamala Harris
AFP via Getty Images
Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images
Vice President Kamala Harris

By Jasmine Wright, Maegan Vazquez, Betsy Klein, Kevin Liptak and Ted Barrett, CNN

Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday after returning from a weeklong trip to California.

“Today I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted,” Harris tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Kirsten Allen, the vice president’s press secretary, said in an earlier statement that Harris tested positive for Covid-19 on rapid and PCR tests. Harris “will isolate and continue to work from the vice president’s residence,” Allen said.

“She has not been a close contact to the President or First Lady due to their respective recent travel schedules. She will follow CDC guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The Vice President will return to the White House when she tests negative,” she added.

Harris had been scheduled to receive her intelligence briefing at 10:15 am ET Tuesday at the White House alongside President Joe Biden, according to daily guidance sent to reporters Monday evening. She did not participate in any events or meetings at the White House on Tuesday, according to a White House official.

Harris is taking the antiviral coronavirus treatment Paxlovid, Kirsten Allen, the vice president’s spokesperson, tweeted Tuesday, saying: “Today, after consultation with her physicians, the Vice President was prescribed and has taken Paxlovid,”

Earlier Tuesday, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told reporters he wasn’t sure if Harris had been prescribed the antiviral, noting that he is not her physician.

Paxlovid is available via emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 in people 12 and older who are at high risk of severe illness. It requires a doctor’s prescription.

The Associated Press was first to report on the vice president’s treatment.

Contact tracing is underway, a White House official said. Officials will notify the appropriate people, but as of Tuesday afternoon, the office had not identified close contacts among staff.

A handful of staff members traveled with Harris to California last week, including deputy chief of staff Mike Fuchs and national security adviser Phil Gordon. It’s unclear whether all staff members listed stayed in California with Harris through the duration of her weeklong trip.

Biden and Harris spoke over the phone on Tuesday afternoon, according to the White House.

“He wanted to check in and make sure she has everything she needs as she quarantines at home,” a White House statement to reporters said.

The President last tested negative for Covid-19 on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Harris’ isolation will have immediate impact on Senate Democrats. Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Ron Wyden of Oregon both also announced they had tested positive as well on Tuesday, meaning that their absences — along with Harris — will delay Democrats’ plans to confirm a pair of high-profile nominees this week, a senior Democratic aide told CNN.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hoped to confirm Lisa Cook to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board and Alvaro Bedoya to be the chair of the Federal Trade Commission. But because there is broad Republican opposition to them, votes to process those nominations will be put off until Democrats, who narrowly control the 50-50 chamber, are back to full strength.

In a sign of the partisan combativeness that is so prevalent in the Senate, Republicans will still force a procedural roll call vote on Cook’s nomination — which will fail — later Tuesday and force Democrats to go through the process of breaking a filibuster against her again. GOP senators could have given consent to waive the actual vote but didn’t. Republicans have not said yet if they would do the same with Bedoya’s nomination.

“That is something that members and leaders will work through in Congress,” Psaki told reporters on Tuesday when asked about the dilemma. “We are confident we have the votes to get them confirmed. We’re eager to have them in place. But of course, we need all the people, all members there to do that.”

The Senate confirmed Lael Brainard to be the vice chair of the Fed Tuesday afternoon. Her nomination is not affected by the absences because she has bipartisan support.

Harris not a close contact of Biden

Harris arrived at the White House Tuesday morning, a White House official told CNN, and went straight to take a test. After testing positive on both PCR and rapid tests, she returned home to her residence at the Naval Observatory, where she will be isolating.

Separately, an official said Harris last saw Biden at the Easter Egg Roll on April 18. She left Washington for California that afternoon and didn’t return until Monday night.

While in California last week, she held events on portfolio issues. In San Francisco on Thursday, Harris highlighted the Black maternal health crisis during events and was indoors talking to expecting mothers and health providers without a mask on. Masks are recommended, but no longer required, in most public indoor spaces in the city.

Harris held no public events over the weekend before returning to the nation’s capital.

One official said Harris tested negative through her “regular” testing up until Tuesday. CNN has asked when the vice president last tested negative.

Harris completed her two-dose regimen of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in January 2021. She received her first booster dose in late October and a second booster vaccine on April 1.

Covid makes its way through elite Washington

The vice president’s positive Covid-19 test comes as the US has largely lifted most of its Covid-19 mitigation measures after the Omicron variant spike over the winter.

In accordance with federal public health guidelines, officials and visitors have not been required to wear masks or socially distance at large White House events. Covid cases in Washington have declined since their peak in early January, when the country was facing a wave of Omicron variant cases, but have been rising recently.

Though the White House has continued to hold crowded indoor events where masks are optional and officials have forgone masks in public, the administration has said they are going beyond federal guidelines to detect Covid-19 in the building. There’s mandatory testing for those who come into contact with Biden and social distancing during meetings, at least when it’s possible.

Psaki said on Tuesday that she does not expect the White House to implement additional Covid-related protocols as a result of Harris’ positive test.

“There’s a regular testing cadence. Obviously, the vice president was tested this morning because of that regular testing cadence. And for the rest of us — anyone who’s going to be around the President, to travel with him, to see him in the Oval Office — is tested that day,” she said, outlining existing White House protocols. “And even if you’re not going to see him, you’re on a regular testing cadence around here.”

Psaki also said some White House staff have taken the additional steps of socially distancing where possible and masking of their own volition. And she confirmed that the President would still attend a number of high-profile events this week, including the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and the memorial for former Vice President Walter Mondale in Minneapolis.

Officials have acknowledged that it’s “possible” Biden will eventually contract Covid-19, but have emphasized the precautions being taken to prevent infection.

“The bottom line is he is vaccinated and boosted. He is very well protected. He’s got very good protocols around him to protect him from getting infected. But there is no 100% anything,” Jha said on Tuesday.

Covid has also been making the rounds among White House staff and among the Washington elite recently.

In late March, White House press secretary Jen Psaki cancelled her plans to travel with the President to Belgium and Poland after testing positive for Covid-19 for the second time. Her replacement on the Europe trip, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, tested positive shortly after returning from the trip. Harris’ husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in March.

Following the Gridiron Club Dinner, an annual event with members of the press and prominent Washington officials that was held in early April, dozens of attendees tested positive, including two Cabinet members and Harris’ communication director, Jamal Simmons. He was considered to be a close contact of the vice president. Harris was criticized in the wake of that close contact for her seeming disregard of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention masking guidance for those who were exposed to Covid-19, as she did not wear a mask during the Supreme Court confirmation vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s MJ Lee, Sarah Fortinsky and DJ Judd contributed to this report.

CNN Newsource

Comments

63 Comments

    1. What work. This lady barely does anything. Even Michelle Obama did more in her first few months than this sack of potatoes. I can say that. I voted for her and Biden, as they still get more done than Trump did. How’s that wall coming along folks? Lol.

    1. What is really pathetic is how they keep trying to call them “breakthrough” cases. Stupid government/media. Get a clue: The vax barely does anything for you unless you’re already halfway to death from something else. Good for those folks I guess.. but in reality, it doesn’t really help the rest of us keeping those ‘wards of healthcare’ alive to cost everyone even more money down the road. That’s putting facts over feelings.

          1. Yeh ? And how many of those died solely from this mild virus and all it’s weakened variants ? In Oregon-2% of 7500- is 150 people- who died only from the virus- and not related to any underlying heart disease- liver failure- chronic asthma. That’s over a two year four month period- that averages out to about 1/week… and we shut down society violating the US constitution- put schools in lockdown to the detriment of children statewide- placed businesses into bankruptcy- then tried to celebrate these crimes by pretending they never happened ??? Run whatever you want- just don’t try to run it by me.

    2. I am not sure why they allow you to post lies and not really sure why you lie so much…I hope you are just a troll but vaccinated. If not, you can still get a vaccine, do it for your loved ones 🙂

      70 percent of reported COVID-19 cases were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people.
      82 percent of reported hospitalizations with COVID-19 as the primary diagnosis/cause of admission were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people.
      78 percent of COVID-19-related deaths among individuals who had an infection date between Jan 1, 2021 and Apr 11, 2022 were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people.

        1. You are a spreader of disinformation and I would love to discuss why you think you have the constitutional right to lie and spread lies with the intent to harm others. This is where I think the first amendment ends and the law should apply. I enjoy speaking to people with different views but people who spread lies to harm others should be arrested.

          1. Nobody care what you think Chris… you are a kook, but Im my country we let fools like you continue to speak, and let people judge for themselves. There are a few countries in the world more suited to you than than the USA, you should consider a move back to SF where you probably came from, or a communist nation like Cuba or China, you would fit in well .

      1. Your slanted data fails to admit that “underlying conditions” accounted for 98% of all severe cases including death. The virus rarely killed on it’s own- it’s the fact that many Americans lead unhealthy lives that’s at issue. And without admitting this- you will all be duped again !

        1. Apparently me saying about 8 hours ago surprised the z doesn’t have a link for people to send prayers to her must’ve dinged someone here.

          1. Keep using dumb emoticons, more will be removed. I don’t have time for trolls who drag me into their comments with lies. Lies about me/my organization may well be deleted for violating TOS with personal offensive attacks.

            1. Kuya uses thumbs up all the time- you ban one- you ban them all- You also allow personal attacks generated from the liberal left all day- every Tiozo post I saw today was attacking a messenger… less outrage- more consistency would help !

                1. Robot consistency- perfect… Personal attacks- nothing I’ve ever started… subjective judgement calls- adios… I participate in other sites globally- and have never been “gone”. These “problems” all seem to be self-made.

            2. That’s ok Barney, we realize you silence dissent, ignore facts and reasonable objections, and support censoring people who disagree with you, your organization, and mainstream media…. Most of us here recognize your behavior and comments as childish, as you never back anything with facts, only weak opinions, and links to pathetic news organizations like cnn and msnbc…. We forgive you Barney, and feel sorry for you…. Ignorance is bliss Barn….Maybe you are the luckiest my one.

              1. Then why are you here? Oh, that’s right, to prove yourself wrong with every post. Silence dissent? Get real. Everything you claim of me is false. Folks know real facts and reputable sources when they see them.
                The hate and blame is evident.

                1. It’s odd to me that you don’t see the irony of your constant comments about “hate and blame”. You point to comments you disagree with calling them “hate and blame” and then rip the commenter and blame them for “lying and disinformation”. You are not above the fray Barney, you’re right in the middle of it by choice.

                2. Nope, I’ve called out comments I agree with that are hateful too. They correlate but those who see what they want to see will keep attacking my efforts at fair moderation.
                  I don’t hate anyone, but I sure hate the hate and blame so many express here, saying their side is always right and the other side wants to destroy America. That’s what I criticize.
                  The hate speaks for itself.

                3. Did you just reply to yourself below here and then shut down the conversation? That’s one way to go I guess…

                4. I don’t shut down conversations. I defend myself from unfair, untrue attacks. We don’t turn off comments on stories or blanket delete, each is judged against the TOS and personally offensive attacks, many of which still get through such as when it’s two equals just slapping each other silly to no one’s benefit. If we deleted all hateful comments here, there’d be little left.

                5. Remember that old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice…”? I do. Then there’s that ol’ Golden Rule. Out the window with many, it appears.
                  You have a good evening, too.

      1. In this instance, your reading comprehension skills seem to have failed you. Re-read it more slowly.
        ..
        Do you see your mistake?
        ..
        If not: I didn’t comment on the percentage of the infected that died, I commented on the percentage of the dead who were vaccinated/boosted. If you think that the unvaccinated also make up a very small percentage of the dead, please tell us who makes up the remainder.

  1. GOP4LIFE wants Kamala to die and will keep his fingers crossed. He’s also a god fearing man who wishes death upon the living, when they don’t agree with him. I’ll gladly take being judged for being an atheist any day. All I see from the Christian conservatives is utter hate for mankind. I help my neighbor, my family, my friends. I’ll smile at anyone passing by on the street or at the store. People like you give religion a bad name. I don’t try or have good morals and ethics because of any fictional characters. I just do it for the sake of mankind. You should try it.

    1. Did you bother to read the subtitle of the article? “Rising proportion of vaccinated people in hospital reflects greater numbers in population getting vaccines”. Yes, as the percentage of the population that is vaccinated rises, the percentage of people who are hospitalized and/or in the ICU will also increase. I was in the hospital with COVID, and heard code blue all the time as people were dropping like flies and could barely breathe. The nurses could barely deal with the constant barrage of death and sickness brought on by the unvaccinated. In my case, the virus attacked my organs, and while you could barely tell I was sick, my AST and ALT levels were in the high 300s. Those are typically released by the liver, but in my case it was all my organs that got hit. If I weren’t vaccinated I suspect I’d be dead, or barely breathing.

  2. I hope the country can survive with her off work for a week. Next they will blame the border crisis on Harris getting COVID right when she was going to fix it.

      1. TioBoZo – I would do a great job, put everything back to how Trump had it. Easy fix. This Moron you voted for had to change everything Trump did. What has worked out better that Biden changed from Trump. Just give me a list, I know you don’t personally like Trump, has nothing to do with that. Just a list of what is better that Biden changed.

        1. Infrastructure bill finally passed for one, after how many laughable “infrastructure weeks” during the dictator wannabe’s term, even when he had majority control of Congress?

          1. Hey POPS Kid – answer my question since you chimed in. What has this MORON done? What decision the Joe Biden has made contrary to Donald Trump has work out well? Come on answer for your comrade, you both hate Trump, and really seem to love Biden. Lay it out there. What has Joe Biden done that is better?

          2. Obama and Biden had 8 years to produce their “shovel ready jobs”… you telling us all that yer gonna fall for the same con again ? Damn dude- you dumb !

            1. BGHW, you are right. Call out these loud mouth liberals and they have no response. Come on Know it all’s. What has Biden done? You voted for this MORON, so did 80 million others supposedly, how is he doing? This entire administration is a disaster.

          3. What a succes… a country with a 30 trillion debt borrowing money to build what exactly? Internet services…. Bhhaaaaaa bhaaaaa good one. Next

  3. From Above… “Remember that old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice…”? I do.”… Really ? It seems that for four years TDS ruled the roost around here- what happened- a biblical moment ?

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