White House spokeswoman tests positive for COVID-19
China Daily

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, Feb 14, 2022. (Photo: Agencies)

WASHINGTON - White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced on Sunday night that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

Jean-Pierre said in a statement that she took a PCR test earlier in the day after returning from US President Joe Biden's trip to Europe and that the test "came back positive".

The White House spokeswoman also revealed she last saw Biden "during a socially distanced meeting" on Saturday but the president "is not considered a close contact as defined by CDC guidance".

The CDC, which stands for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, defines close contact as someone who is less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from an infected individual for more than 15 minutes.

"Thanks to being fully vaccinated and boosted, I have only experienced mild symptoms," Jean-Pierre added. "In alignment with White House COVID-19 protocols, I will work from home and plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of a five-day isolation period and a negative test."

Ahead of Biden's trip, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had tested positive for the coronavirus, the second for her in just a few months.

Jean-Pierre, 44, joined a list of prominent US figures who have recently been infected with COVID-19, including former US President Barack Obama, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris.

The United States has so far reported nearly 80 million COVID-19 cases and more than 976,000 deaths, both the highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Anthony Fauci, a US top infectious disease expert, has recently said that he expects "an uptick in cases" due to Omicron's subvariant BA.2.

Fauci said the new strain is about 50 to 60 percent more transmissible than the first Omicron strain and could take over as the dominant strain in the United States.