Mar 31, 2022 - Health

Biden’s close COVID contacts piling up

Data: White House press releases; Photos: Getty Images; Infographic: Thomas Oide and Allie Carl/Axios

CIA Director Bill Burns is the latest person to come down with the coronavirus after being in contact with President Biden.

Why it matters: Although mask and other mandates are receding throughout the country, the risk of the leader of the free world contracting COVID-19 looms. Burns tested positive on Thursday, a day after meeting with Biden.

  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki had to skip the president's trip to Europe last week after contracting the coronavirus herself.
  • Her replacement, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, tested positive after landing back in the United States.

The CIA said in a news release that while Burns met with Biden, he wasn't considered a "close contact" because he was socially distanced and wearing an N-95 mask.

  • "[Burns] will continue to perform his duties as CIA director, working from home, and plans to return to the office after isolating for five days and testing negative for the virus," the statement said.
  • In reporting the Psaki and Jean-Pierre cases, the White House virtually copy-and-pasted the disclosures.
  • The CIA also used the same language to make the Burns announcement, indicating — as with the others — the director didn't come in close contact with the president and would return to work after following CDC guidelines.

The president received his second booster shot Wednesday after receiving his first in September.

  • The FDA says Americans 50 and older — and the immune-compromised — who received their first booster shot at least four months ago are eligible for a second shot.

What we’re watching: While getting his latest shot, the president called on Congress to pass additional funding to fight the pandemic.

  • He argued the battle is far from over, as the administration prepares for a new wave.
  • “If we fail to invest, we leave ourselves vulnerable if another wave of the virus hits,” he said.
  • The president also announced the launch of COVID.gov, a website intended to be a "one-stop shop" for COVID resources — including vaccines, tests and masks.
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