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Biden tests negative for COVID-19 after recent exposure

President Joe Biden listens during a meeting with his task force on supply chain issues on Wednesday.
Patrick Semansky
President Joe Biden listens during a meeting with his task force on supply chain issues on Wednesday.

President Biden has tested negative for COVID-19, the White House said.

The PCR test was done after a White House staff member — who had flown with Biden on Air Force One on Friday — tested positive for COVID on Monday. The staff member, who was fully vaccinated and boosted,experienced symptoms on Sunday. Biden had tested negative on Sunday and Monday, but was tested again on Wednesday as a precaution.

The results come the day after Biden talked about his latest plans for the highly contagious omicron variant — and tried to reassure vaccinated people about breakthrough cases.

"Because omicron spreads so easily, we'll see some fully vaccinated people get COVID, potentially in large numbers," Biden said. "There will be positive cases in every office, even here in the White House."

The White House has rigorous procedures in place to try to prevent the spread of COVID on its campus, where the president lives and where hundreds of people work each day. Biden is regularly tested for the virus. People who travel with him or who are scheduled to be in meetings with him are tested beforehand.

After Thanksgiving, when Biden's voice was noticeably hoarse, his physician gave him a battery of tests to determine he really had just caught a cold. Biden blamed his young grandson Beau, who brought both germs and kisses to the family's gathering in Nantucket. The White House released a memo from the president's doctor verifying that he didn't have COVID.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had COVID in October, making her the highest-ranking White House official to publicly reveal a case. There have been other cases at the White House as well, but the administration does not publicly discuss them.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
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