More than half of President Biden’s Cabinet members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past few months.
None of the officials experienced severe symptoms, and all recovered quickly. All were also fully vaccinated, and all but one had received a booster shot when they became infected.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was the most recent Cabinet member to announce a positive test, which she did on Wednesday.
Here are the Cabinet members who have tested positive for COVID-19 since late 2021.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for a breakthrough case in October during routine pre-travel protocols and reported having “mild congestion.”
A breakthrough case occurs when a fully vaccinated individual tests positive for COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC data at the time reported that an unvaccinated individual was six times more likely to test positive than a vaccinated person. Mayorkas was fully vaccinated but had not yet received a booster shot, The Washington Post reported.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement in early January that he had tested positive while at home and would stay there for five days while recovering.
He said he would maintain his responsibilities, but that Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks would represent him “as appropriate.”
Austin was infected as the initial omicron wave led the national average of cases to hit 150,000 weekly.
The CDC had changed its quarantine guidelines about a week prior, shortening the timespan from 10 days to five days for asymptomatic individuals or for those whose symptoms are improving.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo tested positive in early April after experiencing mild symptoms and taking an at-home test.
She was among several high-profile political leaders who tested positive after attending the annual Gridiron Club dinner days earlier. The dinner brings together a range of politicians and journalists and features comedic speeches and skits roasting those involved in politics.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, who also attended the Gridiron dinner on April 2, tested positive for COVID-19 a few days after Raimondo. The Justice Department said he was not experiencing any symptoms but would isolate at home for at least five days, following guidance from the CDC.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tweeted that he also tested positive three days after Garland’s announcement. Vilsack had also been in attendance at the Gridiron dinner.
Vice President Kamala Harris became infected with the virus in late April after receiving positive results from rapid and PCR tests. She had not shown any symptoms and had not been around President Biden or first lady Jill Biden in the days preceding her positive test, the vice president’s office said.
The second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, tested positive in March, but Harris continued to test negative during that time.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken tested positive in the first week of May and was experiencing mild symptoms. The State Department said he would work from home for a week.
Then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden was not a close contact to Blinken, having not seen him for several days.
Xavier Becerra, the secretary of Health and Human Services, tested positive last month while visiting Berlin for a Group of Seven meeting for health ministers. An department spokeswoman said Becerra would continue his responsibilities while in isolation.
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19, saying he plans to isolate and follow CDC guidelines as he looks to a “quick recovery.”
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland received a positive COVID-19 test Wednesday after experiencing mild symptoms.
Haaland had received two booster shots, according to a statement from the Interior Department. She had been scheduled to travel to the West Coast but is working remotely instead.
Haaland tweeted that she urges everyone to stay up to date on their vaccines so they will have more mild symptoms if they become infected.
Source: The Hill