White House Official, Pelosi Aide Test Positive for COVID-19
A White House official and a staff member for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the same reception last week, Axios reported Tuesday.
Both individuals are vaccinated and mildly symptomatic, Axios said. They both attended a rooftop reception on Wednesday night.
"We know that there will be breakthrough cases, but as this instance shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild," a White House official told Axios.
"The White House is prepared for breakthrough cases with regular testing. This is another reminder of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against severe illness or hospitalization. We wish our colleague a speedy recovery."
The report said the two infections show that people inoculated against coronavirus still can contract and, potentially, unknowingly transmit the virus.
Axios said the Pelosi staffer helped usher a delegation of Texas Democrat lawmakers around the Capitol last week.
Six of those lawmakers have since tested positive.
The latest news came as COVID-19 cases rise across the country, with health officials becoming increasingly worried about the highly contagious Delta variant.
Some officials nationwide are considering reinstating mask recommendations, as the variant poses a serious threat to individuals not vaccinated against the virus.
The most recent Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index found that most unvaccinated Americans say nothing is likely to make them get the shot.
The Pelosi aide and the White House official attended the same rooftop reception at the Hotel Eaton last Wednesday night, Axios reported.
The White House official reportedly has not had any recent direct contact with President Joe Biden, and the Pelosi staffer did not have any contact with the speaker since the person's exposure.
"Yesterday, a fully vaccinated White House official tested positive for COVID-19 off campus," a White House official told Axios in a statement.
"In accordance with our rigorous COVID-19 protocols, the official remains off campus as they wait for a confirmatory PCR test. The White House Medical Unit has conducted contact tracing interviews and determined no close contacts among White House principals and staff. The individual has mild symptoms."
Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff to Pelosi, told Axios that only people who have had no recent exposure to the infected individual were in the office. All others were working remotely.
Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., announced Monday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. He became the first known positive case in Congress this summer.
The Delta variant also has forced public tours of the Capitol to be postponed for the near future, according to a legislative aide to Axios.
The U.S. government Monday warned against travel to Great Britain as coronavirus cases surged while nearly all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in an effort to restart the economy