Nancy Pelosi tests positive for Covid, but is asymptomatic

Nancy Pelosi, the 82-year-old speaker of the House, has tested positive for Covid but is asymptomatic, her spokesman said Thursday.

“After testing negative this week, Speaker Pelosi received a positive test result for Covid-19 and is currently asymptomatic. The Speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said of the California Democrat in a pair of tweets. 

“The Speaker will quarantine consistent with CDC guidance, and encourages everyone to get vaccinated, boosted and test regularly,” Hammill said.

Pelosi was on stage with President Joe Biden during an event at the White House on Tuesday and was with the president at a bill signing Wednesday night.

The White House said Thursday that Biden “is not considered a close contact” of Pelosi’s, according to CDC guidelines.

“The president saw Speaker Pelosi at White House events and had brief interactions over the course of the last two days,” the White House said in a statement. “Last night as a part of his regular testing cadence, the president tested negative. He will continue to be tested regularly. The president wishes Speaker Pelosi a speedy recovery.”

The White House has been following the CDC’s guideline of being within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes to determine if they are a close contact.

Pelosi’s positive test was announced shortly after Valerie Biden Owens’ book publisher said the president’s 76-year-old younger sister had tested positive on Wednesday.

“She is fully vaccinated and boosted, will isolate at home for five days following CDC recommendations,” publisher Celadon Books said in a statement.

“She did not have close contact with the President or First Lady prior to her positive test,” the statement said.

Owens’ positive test comes days before the release of her book, “Growing up Biden.” She was scheduled to make an appearance at a bookstore in Washington D.C. on Thursday to promote her memoir.

The publisher said she “anticipates returning to her book tour upon testing negative.”

There have been no changes to the Covid protocols in the White House despite the rapid spread around Washington of an even more transmissible new variant, BA.2, which is now the dominant strain in the U.S. 

Biden, who received a second Covid booster shot last week, has been attending large gatherings indoors without masks for several weeks, often embracing other attendees. He gave Pelosi a hug and kiss on the cheek at an event at the White House Tuesday.

Press secretary Jen Psaki, who tested positive for Covid last month, said Tuesday that the White House has been following pandemic protocols that are more stringent than CDC recommendations.

Employees surrounding Biden are on a regular testing schedule, people going to see the president are tested that day and those meetings are often socially distanced as well, Psaki said.

“The president’s doctor will continue to determine if additional testing is needed on any given week, in light of various considerations,” Psaki said. “For example, because of the travel from a couple of weeks ago, he was tested, in addition to his regular cadence, after he came back.”

People meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill are also tested, Psaki added.

White House employees who do test positive are required to isolate and cannot return to work until they have tested negative, beyond the CDC’s recommendation.

Several top administration officials have also tested positive for Covid this week, including Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, as well as a number of White House staffers, including the vice president’s spokesperson.

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