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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki caused a commotion after she said something rather head-scratching about President Joe Biden
It was during a press conference on Tuesday that Psaki spoke about the president’s health after it was reported that he had been in “close contact” with someone who tested positive for COVID.
“As we stated last summer, we believe it is in the public’s interest to know if any of the four principals (President, Vice President, First Lady, and Second Gentleman) are considered to have been in close contact with a White House official who subsequently tests positive for COVID-19 shortly after that contact. The criteria for what is considered a ‘close contact’ with the principals is determined by the White House Medical Unit, in line with CDC guidance,” The White House said.
“On Monday morning, a mid-level staff member, who does not regularly have contact with the President, received a positive result for a COVID-19 test. Three days earlier, on Friday, that staff member had spent approximately 30 minutes in proximity to the President on Air Force One, on the way from Orangeburg, South Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This staff member is fully vaccinated and boosted, and tested negative prior to boarding Air Force One, as is required for everyone traveling with the President. This staff member did not begin to experience symptoms until Sunday, and was tested on Monday,” it said.
“Others on Air Force One who were in close contact with this staff member are being contacted and will be advised to get tested per CDC guidance.
“The President is tested on a regular basis. As part of that regular testing, the President received an antigen test Sunday and tested negative. This morning, after being notified of the staffer’s positive test, the President received a PCR test and tested negative. He will be tested again on Wednesday,” the press release said.
“As CDC guidance does not require fully vaccinated people to quarantine after an exposure, the President will continue with his daily schedule,” it said
The question about the president’s health was the first question asked at Psaki’s press briefing.
“First off, how is the President feeling, given close contact? Is he symptomatic? Is he doing okay? I know he’s getting tested tomorrow, but can you give us an update?” the reporter said.
And Psaki’s response raised some eyebrows.
“He’s asymptomatic. I spent several hours with him this morning, and he is feeling great. And you’ll see him at the speech shortly,” she said.
Traditionally the word “asymptomatic” has been used to describe someone who has tested positive but is not displaying symptoms.
There is no evidence that the president has had a positive test and there has been no announcement but the response was a curious one, particularly after the president had been coughing during his press conference.
“Despite Biden’s repeated coughing, WH says he is asymptomatic for COVID-19,” Breitbart News White House Correspondent Charlie Spiering with a video of the president coughing.
Despite Biden's repeated coughing, WH says he is asymptomatic for COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/TsUr93I37f
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 21, 2021
“You said he’s asymptomatic. That is sometimes a phrase used for people who tested positive but don’t have symptoms. Do you just mean he’s not symptomatic but hasn’t tested positive?” a reporter later asked.
“He does not have symptoms. Yes, correct,” Psaki said, which is not an answer to the question of how he tested.
“Can you clarify: He has not tested positive, though? Because this is causing confusion out there,” the reporter pressed.
“Yes, he — apologies, he has not tested positive. He tested negative yesterday, as we indicated. And he will be tested against tomorrow. He is not — does not have any symptoms either,” Psaki said.