Biden Was In Close Contact With Aide Who Was Positive for Covid-19

WASHINGTON (The Washington Post) -
President Joe Biden salutes as he boards Marine One in Wilmington, Del., Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, en route to Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Joe Biden was in close contact with an aide who later tested positive for covid-19, the White House said Monday night.

Biden tested negative for the virus Monday morning and will be tested again on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. She added that Biden will continue with his daily schedule since current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not require fully vaccinated individuals to quarantine after an exposure.

News of the close contact comes amid a wave of new coronavirus cases in the United States, with the highly contagious omicron variant comprising 73 percent of new cases between Dec. 12 and 18, according to the CDC.

The White House did not identify the individual who tested positive for covid-19. In her statement, Psaki described the person as “a mid-level staff member who does not regularly have contact with the President.”

The staffer, who is “fully vaccinated and boosted,” had spent about 30 minutes with Biden aboard Air Force One on Friday and tested negative prior to boarding the flight, in accordance with White House protocols, Psaki said.

The individual did not experience any symptoms until Sunday and tested positive for the virus on Monday morning, she added.

“Others on Air Force One who were in close contact with this staff member are being contacted and will be advised to get tested per CDC guidance,” Psaki said. “The President is tested on a regular basis. As part of that regular testing, the President received an antigen test Sunday, and tested negative.”

Biden is expected to deliver remarks Tuesday about his administration’s latest efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and the risks of being unvaccinated.

At a press conference earlier Monday, Psaki told reporters that Biden will not be unveiling new coronavirus restrictions in his remarks to the country.

“This is not a speech about locking the country down,” she said.