White House press secretary Jen Psaki tests positive for COVID-19 in breakthrough case – USA TODAY

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WASHINGTON – White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19, she disclosed Sunday in a statement that also said she has not been in close contact with the president or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday.

Psaki said she last saw President Joe Biden on Tuesday, “when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks.”

Biden left Thursday for Europe and is not scheduled to return until Wednesday.

Psaki, who was supposed to accompany Biden, stayed back after members of her household tested positive. (At the time, the White House announced Psaki was not going because of an unspecified “family emergency.”)

She said she has been quarantined since then and tested negative every day until Sunday.

She said she disclosed the positive test “out of an abundance of transparency.”

Psaki said she’s experience only mild symptoms and will continue working from home until after a 10-day quarantine following a negative rapid test. She called that “an additional White House requirement, beyond CDC guidance, taken out of an abundance of caution.”

Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas became the first Biden cabinet member to test positive.

State Department spokesman Ned Price tested positive in late September.

While COVID-19 breakthrough cases have been very rare among the large numbers of those vaccinated, they can still happen because no vaccines are 100% effective. 

Severe infections in people who have been fully vaccinated are rare, generally occurring in people whose immune systems are weakened by their advanced age or medical condition. Vaccinated people are 8 times less likely to be infected and 25 times less likely to experience hospitalization or death, according to CDC studies.

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Maureen Groppe has covered Washington for nearly three decades and is now a White House correspondent for USA TODAY. Follow her on Twitter @mgroppe.