Kamala Harris tests positive for Covid, shows no symptoms

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a multilateral meeting with the Estonian Prime Minister, the Latvian President and the Lithuanian President during the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on 18 February 2022.

Andrew Harnik | AFP | Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, her office said, noting she had no symptoms and had not been in close contact with the president or first lady.

Harris, 57, “will isolate and continue working from the vice president’s residence,” her press secretary, Kirsten Allen, said in a statement.

Harris, who is the first in the president’s order, is the highest-ranking official in the Biden administration to have received Covid. President Joe Biden has so far avoided the virus, even after being in the vicinity of several officials, who were later tested positive.

Harris is not considered a close contact with Biden or First Lady Jill Biden “because of their respective recent travel plans,” Allen’s statement said.

The vice president is fully vaccinated against Covid and received his second booster shot earlier this month.

Harris tested positive for Covid on both rapid and PCR tests, her office said Tuesday, adding that she will return to the White House when she tests negative.

The Vice President’s diagnosis comes amid a rise in Covid cases in the United States in recent weeks, which in some areas appear to be driven by a new omicron subvariant BA.2. The upward trend, although far below the spread of the virus during the winter months, has led some officials to keep some social distance measures in place.

Earlier Tuesday, Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Ron Wyden of Oregon announced that they were testing positive for Covid and feeling mild symptoms.

These test results raised the question of whether Senate Democrats will have enough votes to confirm some nominees they had planned to consider this week.

The Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and the Democratic caucus, giving Harris the tie. She has held that power 17 times, most by any vice president since Schuyler Colfax of the Ulysses S. Grant administration, who left in 1873.

A vote to advance the nomination of Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve Board is expected to fail Tuesday because of the positive Covid tests, according to a senior Democratic aide in the Senate. The chamber is also set to postpone its consideration of Alvaro Bedoya as a member of the Federal Trade Commission, the aide said.

The Senate is still ready to confirm Lael Brainard, Bidens’ nominee for deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve, on Tuesday, after several Republicans supported her bid in a procedural vote Monday.

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