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Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

  • Short is a key a public face of the administration — one of its more frequent advocates in the press and on television — and works closely with West Wing staff.
  • Earlier Saturday, Marty Obst, a top outside adviser to Pence, tested positive, ABC News and others reported. Obst is an outside adviser and not a government employee.
  • The New York Times reports that three unnamed Pence aides have also tested positive.

The big picture: Short joins a long list of top White House officials who have been hit by the virus — one of the biggest crises ever to hit a White House, and a central issue in the election, which is less than 10 days away.

  • Katie Miller, Pence's communications director, tested positive in May.
  • After President Trump tested positive in early October, longtime aide Stephen Miller tested positive, as did press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
  • A FEMA memo reported that 34 people were associated with the White House outbreak, ABC News reported.

A statement from the vice president's office said:

Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, tested positive for COVID-19, began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process.
Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health.
While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.
— Pence press secretary Devin O'Malley
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The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

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Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

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Updated 1 hour ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.

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