Kamala Harris tests positive for COVID-19

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Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for COVID-19, her office announced on Tuesday.

“Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on rapid and PCR tests,” Kirsten Allen, Harris’s press secretary, said in a statement. “She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the vice president’s residence.

“She has not been a close contact to the president or first lady due to their respective recent travel schedules,” Allen said. “She will follow CDC guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The vice president will return to the White House when she tests negative.”

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

Later Tuesday, Allen said that "after consultation with her physicians," Harris was prescribed and is taking the antiviral coronavirus treatment Paxlovid.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that President Biden tested negative for the virus on Monday.

Vice President Kamala Harris waves as she departs from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lompoc, Calif., on April 18. (Mike Blake/Reuters)
Vice President Kamala Harris waves as she departs from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lompoc, Calif., on April 18. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Biden and Harris spoke on the phone Tuesday afternoon, the White House said. Harris last saw the president in person on April 18 at the White House Easter Egg Roll. She then traveled to California, returning to Washington on Monday night.

Her last public appearance was Thursday, when she spoke about maternal health at the University of California, San Francisco Mission Bay.

Harris, 57, who is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, is the highest-ranking Biden administration official to test positive for the virus to date.

News of her positive test comes amid a surge of in cases in Washington, D.C., as the United States continues to grapple with a new wave driven by a more transmissible omicron subvariant known as BA.2.

Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., announced positive tests Tuesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and Jamal Simmons, Harris’s communications director, each tested positive earlier this month.

Harris's husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, tested positive last month.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak as they walk toward the Oval Office.
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk into the Oval Office after an event at the White House on April 11. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 80 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic — far more than in any other country in the world. More than 990,000 Americans have died as a result of complications from COVID-19.

“We have a very, very contagious variant out there,” Dr. Ashish Jha, new coordinator of the White House COVID-19 response, said at a briefing Tuesday afternoon. “It is going to be very hard to ensure no one gets COVID in America. That isn't even a policy goal. The goal of our policies should be — obviously minimize infections whenever possible, but to make sure people don't get seriously ill.”

While Biden is not considered a close contact for Harris, the White House acknowledged that he could test positive, given his frequent public engagements and a ramped-up travel schedule.

"It is possible that he could test positive for COVID," Psaki said. "Just like any American, even though he's double boosted, that is possible."