HHS secretary tests positive for COVID-19 for the second time in a month

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra has tested positive for COVID-19, less than 30 days since he previously contracted the coronavirus, according to a news release from the department. 

Becerra tested positive on an antigen test Monday and is experiencing mild symptoms. He also tested positive for COVID-19 on May 18 while in Europe and experienced mild symptoms then, HHS said at the time. 

“This morning in Sacramento, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive for COVID-19 after taking an antigen test,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “He is fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms. He will continue to perform his duties as HHS Secretary, working in isolation. The secretary and his office have consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are following all applicable CDC guidance.”

Becerra attended the Summit of the Americas event in Los Angeles last week, but the HHS spokesperson said Becerra “has not been considered a close contact of President Biden or Vice President Harris, as defined by the CDC.”

A spokesperson for HHS said the secretary takes COVID-19 tests regularly and tested negative daily during participation at last week’s summit.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday revealed that he also tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time this year, following the summit.

White House Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice tested positive last month, while several other members of the president’s cabinet and staff – including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack – have tested positive in recent weeks. 

Infectious disease experts think a typical SARS-CoV-2 infection will likely become less dangerous over time, but the full implications and severity of multiple infections remains unclear.




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