A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday following a meeting with the Texas Legislature who fled the state for Washington, D.C.
The spokesperson, according to top Pelosi aide Drew Hammill, was fully vaccinated.
“Yesterday, a fully vaccinated senior spokesperson in the speaker’s press office tested positive for COVID after contact with members of the Texas state legislature last week,” Hammill said in a statement.
“This individual has had no contact with the speaker since exposure. The entire press office is working remotely today with the exception of individuals who have had no exposure to the individual or have had a recent negative test. Our office will continue to follow the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician closely.”
On Tuesday, Pelosi and her staff were spotted wearing masks again at the Capitol. Following a loosening of mask restrictions by the Capitol physician, many members have opted against masks in recent weeks.
Asked about her covid-positive staffer Tuesday, Pelosi said: “I’m sorry he has it. All the more reason for all of us to be vaccinated as he was. Wear a mask. Take every precaution.”
Separately, Axios also reported that a White House official tested positive for coronavirus after attending the same rooftop reception in Washington as the Pelosi staffer last Wednesday night.
The White House aide was also fully vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms.
A White House official confirmed that the staffer tested COVID-19 positive on Monday outside White House grounds and has remained off site, awaiting a confirmatory PCR test.
The White House medical unit conducted contact tracing and determined the staffer had “no close contacts among White House principals and staff.”
The news of the breakthrough cases come after six members of the Texas delegation tested positive for the virus after leaving the state Capitol and coming to Washington last week in an attempt to thwart a special legislative session where Republicans seek to pass new election reforms.
Vice President Kamala Harris met with members of the Texas delegation last Tuesday, but she’s since tested negative for COVID-19, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Monday.
“I think the vice president’s office put out that she was tested and there was no detection of COVID-19,” Psaki said. “They also put out some specific details about their proximity to the individuals who tested positive as well. We take these precautions incredibly seriously and abide by the guidance of our help and medical experts.”
Though the group of Texas Democrats have likely created a coronavirus super-spreader event, the White House is refusing to acknowledge it as such.
The group of state lawmakers flew in to Washington, D.C., last week in order to lobby the Senate for a Democrat-sponsored voting bill that would counteract the type of legislation their home-state Republican counterparts are currently trying to push through.
Many of them shared the same luxury private jets – from which they posted a maskless selfie.
But a coronavirus outbreak spread to at least six of the lawmakers this week, two people who interacted with them and is creating a secondhand risk for other individuals.
One Representative, Gene Wu, stated that all members of the group had been “fully vaccinated since March.”
When questioned by Fox News’ Peter Doocy Tuesday about whether the ill-fated meeting was a “super-spreader” event, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki backed away from the term.
More than 10% of the traveling Democrats have now tested positive for the virus, Doocy noted – at least six out of 55.
“That is not a characterization we’re making here,” Psaki said, referring to the “super-spreader” term. “Vaccines are not foolproof. We know vaccines – I think these individuals have been vaccinated. That is a good sign.”
But Dr. Marc Siegel said that the term “super-spreader” is fair to use to describe the encounter. He also said, “they’re creating divisiveness by refusing to acknowledge a medical reality.”
Author: John Roberts