White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Sunday that she had tested positive for the coronavirus — and she may have exposed President Joe Biden.
According to her statement, she first started canceling meetings on Wednesday and a member of her household tested positive sometime before that.
Just one day prior, Psaki had met with Biden, who at the age of 78 is considered extremely vulnerable to the deadly virus.
“I saw the president on Tuesday,” she wrote.
Throughout his presidency, Biden has stressed COVID-19’s deadly toll on the elderly, especially people over 65.
Psaki addressed worries about Biden’s health in her statement. “We sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks,” she said.
Even if that’s true, Psaki still could have exposed Biden to the virus.
The CDC said in April that fewer than 10 percent of infections occur outdoors. In May, several epidemiologists told The New York Times that less than one percent of cases are from outdoor exposures.
Some epidemiologists went even further and said less than 0.1 percent.
However, that statistic predates the delta variant, which is far more contagious.
Still, Psaki’s transmission risk was lessened by the masks and the physical distance, several physicians told CNN on Sunday.
“Based on the timeline of Ms. Psaki’s testing negative for multiple days following her last encounter with President Biden (which was also outside and masked, therefore very low risk in and of itself),” Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore’s former health commissioner, told CNN in an email.
Biden received his booster shot last month.
Psaki, 42, hasn’t said whether she has received one.
However, she tweeted Sunday, “Grateful I am vaccinated and for the amazing Biden team.” She said that her symptoms were mild enough for her to work remotely.
Read Psaki’s full statement here —
On Wednesday, in coordination with senior leadership at the White House and the medical team, I made the decision not to travel on the foreign trip with the President due to a family emergency, which was members of my household testing positive for COVID-19. Since then, I have quarantined and tested negative (via PCR) for COVID on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. However, today, I tested positive for COVID. While I have not had close contact in person with the President or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday — and tested negative for four days after that last contact — I am disclosing today’s positive test out of an abundance of transparency. I last saw the President on Tuesday, when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks.
Thanks to the vaccine, I have only experienced mild symptoms which has enabled me to continue working from home. I will plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of the ten-day quarantine following a negative rapid test, which is an additional White House requirement, beyond CDC guidance, taken out of an abundance of caution.
Sharing full statement and grateful I am vaccinated and for the amazing Biden team pic.twitter.com/QDokXo47dK
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) October 31, 2021
The Horn editorial team