President Joe Biden was said to have been in “close contact” with a White House staffer last week who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
Now, Biden’s own test results are in. The president tested negative for the coronavirus on both Monday and Wednesday this week, according to the Washington Examiner.
“This morning, President Biden received a PCR test, and the test result was negative,” an unnamed White House official told reporters Wednesday.
The announcement came after Biden acknowledged at an event earlier in the day that he was awaiting the results of the test. “I haven’t gotten the result yet,” he said in response to a reporter’s question, noting that the test was administered just prior to the event.
Exposed on Air Force One
The question of whether Biden was tested for COVID-19 was pertinent, given the White House statement released Monday that revealed a “mid-level staff member” — one who is reportedly fully vaccinated and “boosted” — tested positive for the coronavirus earlier that day after experiencing symptoms on Sunday.
That staffer had been in “close contact” with the president Friday for around 30 minutes during a flight on Air Force One, the statement said. It was noted that the staffer had tested negative just prior to that flight.
In response to the apparent exposure, the president was tested Sunday and Monday and was reportedly negative for the virus both times.
At that time, it was made clear that he would be tested again on Wednesday, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that the White House operates under.
Biden displaying no symptoms
Though Biden tested negative, confusion arose when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described the president as “asymptomatic” during Tuesday’s press briefing. The term is typically reserved for those who have tested positive for the virus but who are displaying no outward signs or symptoms of illness.
Pressed on that distinction during the briefing, Psaki did her usual spin and dance and insisted that Biden was not sick and had tested negative just one day earlier.
In a separate incident, the White House announced on Wednesday that Vice President Kamala Harris had been in “close contact” for an extended period of time with one of her own staffers who had tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.
Harris reportedly tested negative Wednesday morning after being alerted to the contact and is scheduled to be tested again on Friday and Monday, per the CDC guidelines. However, since both Biden and Harris are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have received their booster shots and are apparently displaying no symptoms, neither will be compelled to isolate in the meantime.