United States (US) Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for the highly contagious COVID-19 infection, her office said on Tuesday, adding that she is asymptomatic.
Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for Covid-19 on rapid and PCR tests. She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the vice president’s residence,” Kirsten Allen, Harris’ press secretary, in a statement.
“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,” Allen added.
The White House, meanwhile, said the 57-year-old Harris is not a close contact of President Joe Biden.
Infections have risen in some parts of the U.S. due to the highly transmissible Omicron BA. 2 variant, even as cases are falling overall, according to public health officials. In recent weeks, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Harris’s communications director Jamal Simmons, White House press secretary Jen Psaki and deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre disclosed positive tests.
Administration officials have said recently that President Biden’s regular contact with advisers and supporters could expose him to Covid-19. However, the administration is keen project a sense of normalcy as many Americans are returning to work and socializing with friends and family, they said.
Both Biden and Harris are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received two booster shots. They have in recent weeks mingled with unmasked guests at the White House, including an event attended by 200 guests with former President Barack Obama to talk about Democrats’ signature healthcare law.
With midterm elections scheduled for November, 51 per cent of Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, as the country struggles with high inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pushing Biden, Harris and high-ranking administration officials to travel more and spend more time in large groups without a protective mask.