White House COVID Outbreak: Is Biden at Risk?
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The White House has waved off concerns that President Joe Biden is at risk of contracting the coronavirus after being in close-contact with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the day before she tested positive for the virus.
“The way a close contact is defined, it’s not arbitrary, it’s not something made up by the White House, it’s CDC guidelines, and how they define it is being within six feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period. They were not. All of their interactions were publicly available, I think you saw them, and that’s how that assessment is made,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Images taken at Wednesday’s White House event show Biden kissing Pelosi on the cheek. A reporter asked Psaki how that interaction would not qualify as close contact, and she reiterated the CDC’s 15 minute guideline.
“The way that it is defined is by the … CDC and their definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time within six feet. It did not meet that bar,” Psaki said. “It does not mean that no one will get COVID around the world who have a close contact, it just means we are defining for all of you whether the president and their interaction met the definition of the CDC of a close contact.”
The White House did eventually acknowledge that Biden could contract COVID-19, but stressed his vaccinated status.
“We take every precaution to ensure that we keep him safe, we keep the vice president safe, the first lady, the second gentleman, our staff here. But it is certainly possible that he will test positive for COVID, and he is vaccinated, he is boosted and protected from the most severe strains of the virus,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said on Friday.