WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for Covid on Tuesday, the White House announced.
Harris’ spokesperson Kirsten Allen said Harris has exhibited no symptoms and will isolate herself while she continues to work from her residence. She will return to the White House only when she has received a negative test.
Harris, who is fully vaccinated, has not been in close contact with President Joe Biden or first lady Jill Biden since last Monday during the White House Easter Egg Roll event. Aides said Harris learned of her positive test before she was set to join Biden to get the intelligence review session of the President’s Daily Brief.
Late Wednesday the White House confirmed Harris was prescribed the therapeutic drug Paxlovid, a Covid antiviral pill from Pfizer that has been cleared for use in people at high risk for developing severe illness.
Aides say Harris took both a rapid antigen and PCR methods test and did not see Biden before leaving the White House. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Tuesday’s briefing that anyone who is going to see Biden and have contact with him must be tested beforehand.
Kamala Harris traveled to California over the weekend and returned to Washington on Monday evening.
Previous White House officials including Psaki, Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and Second Gentleman, Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, all tested positive in recent weeks. Harris is now the highest-ranking official to have contracted the virus.
Other officials to have contracted the virus include Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack along with Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The news comes amid a string of infections over the past several weeks, leading to cases rising in parts of the country.
“We have a very, very contagious variant out there. It is going to be hard to ensure that no one gets Covid in America, that’s not even a policy goal,” White House Covid coordinator Ashish Jha said Tuesday. “The goal of our policy should be, obviously, minimize infections whenever possible, but to make sure people don’t get seriously ill.”
Biden tested negative for Covid on Monday, Psaki said.
“It is possible that the president, like any other American, could get COVID,” Jha said Tuesday. “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 percent anything.”
Story updated with details of Harris being prescribed the Covid antiviral pill.