White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, on Friday announced she tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus, noting she last saw President Joe Biden 48-hours earlier while taking precautions, such as wearing an N-95 mask and social distancing.
“This morning, I tested positive for COVID-19. I last saw the President Wednesday in a socially-distanced meeting while wearing an N-95 mask, and he is not considered a close contact as defined by the CDC,” Bedingfield wrote on Friday, crediting her “mild” symptoms to being both vaccinated and boosted.
“Thanks to being fully vaccinated and boosted, I am only experiencing mild symptoms. In alignment with White House COVID-19 protocols, I will work from home and plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of a five-day isolation period and a negative test,” she added:
Thanks to being fully vaccinated and boosted, I am only experiencing mild symptoms. In alignment with White House COVID-19 protocols, I will work from home and plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of a five-day isolation period and a negative test.
— Kate Bedingfield (@WHCommsDir) April 29, 2022
The news comes just ahead of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD), which has raised concerns for some officials. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, will not attend the event, citing his own personal risk of contracting the virus.
While Biden will attend, he will skip the dinner portion and likely wear a mask when he is not speaking, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“He has made the decision he wants to attend, in a safe way, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner to show his support — showcase his support for the free press, for the work of all of you, for the work of your colleagues around the world to not only share accurate information about COVID but also report on the war in Ukraine and all of the work that happens every single day,” Psaki told reporters during Wednesday’s press conference:
I would expect that he may wear a mask when he’s not speaking. I’ll wear a mask when I’m at the dinner, in all likelihood. And we also took steps, including the fact that he’s not attending for the eating portion of the dinner and he’ll be there for the program, which includes a number of speakers, the presentation of scholarships, as you know, and, of course, his speaking and his roasting, where he will be “on the menu,” as he likes to say, when Trevor Noah is speaking.
Bedingfield is the latest to contract the virus this month after a string of high profile figures did as well, including 82-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Vice President Kamala Harris.