The White House confirmed Tuesday (July 20) that a White House official has tested positive for New Coronavirus. At the same time, Congress has had a spate of news this week that lawmakers and staffers have been diagnosed with New Guinea virus. There are concerns that the rising trend of New Coronavirus in the U.S. will affect society’s recovery from the global pandemic.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a news conference Tuesday that a White House official has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. She did not provide further details about it, however.
“A White House official who has been vaccinated tested positive for New Coronavirus yesterday. July 20 marks six months since President Biden took office,” Sharkey said.
Sharkey went on to say, “This person tested positive for New Coronavirus outside of his office yesterday and has not returned to his office since.”
Sharkey emphasized that although breakthrough cases can still occur, the vaccine has had a positive effect in containing the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, “preventing severe illness and reducing deaths.” Sharkey added that President Biden is tested for the new coronavirus every two weeks, and First Lady Jill will still attend the Tokyo Olympics this Friday as planned.
On the congressional front, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office said in a written statement Tuesday that a senior speaker was diagnosed with the new coronavirus on Monday.
A visiting delegation of more than 60 Texas statehouse Democrats arrived in Washington last week to meet with congressional Democratic leaders and White House officials in hopes of stopping the ongoing process to amend the Voting Rights Act. Several members of Speaker Pelosi’s office staff met with the group of Democratic state legislators from Texas. Six of the visiting group of state lawmakers were later reported to have a confirmed New Coronavirus diagnosis.
U.S. media outlet Axios was the first to report the news on Monday. The White House official diagnosed this week and a staffer from Speaker Pelosi’s office both attended the same reception with Democratic members of the Texas State Legislature last Wednesday, the report said.
Vice President Harris, who had contact with the Texas delegation, was also immediately tested for the virus last week and came back negative.
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said Tuesday that the confirmed person had completed his New Crown vaccination and had not had contact with Speaker Pelosi since learning of the diagnosis.
“The entire (Speaker’s) press office is working remotely today, with the exception of those who have not had contact with this infected person or who have recently been tested and came back negative,” Hammill said in a written statement. He also stressed that the Speaker’s office will continue to comply with the Congressional physician’s office immunization rules.
Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) of Florida became the latest member of Congress to be diagnosed when he said Monday that he had tested positive for a new crown.
Buchanan, 70, said he had received the New Crown vaccine earlier this year.
“This is a reminder that despite the very high protection offered by the vaccine, we must remain cautious in our efforts to combat COVID-19,” Buchanan said in a statement, “and I look forward to returning to work as soon as possible.”
Under current House rules, Buchanan can still participate in committee meetings and floor votes via telecommuting, even if he is in his Florida district.
As the global outbreak continues to spread due to the virus variant, the number of confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses in the United States has been increasing for days. According to the New York Times, more than 55,000 people were diagnosed in the United States on a single day on July 19, an increase of about 200 percent from two weeks ago. Among them, the Indian virus variant Delta Delta accounted for 80% of the new cases diagnosed in the United States.