Psaki doesn't deny White House COVID-19 outbreak

White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a briefing

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday did not deny that there is a COVID-19 outbreak at the White House, saying breakthrough cases are to be expected even though Biden’s staff is “99%” vaccinated.

During her daily press briefing, Psaki was asked whether there is currently a coronavirus outbreak at the White House, the National Security Council, the State Department, or the Treasury and whether President Biden had recently been in close contact with a COVID-positive person.

Press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House Dec. 14, 2021. 
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“The president has a full schedule today and is not in need of quarantine,” Psaki responded. “We will provide information to all of you as outlined with our commitment from just a few months ago about being transparent about close contacts. I don’t have any updates for you at this point in time, but again, we expect there to be breakthrough cases across the country, right? And certainly in the federal government. 

“And the most important thing to note for you and for others is that 99% or more at this point of the White House staff is vaccinated,” she continued. “Boosters are strongly recommended and distributed. We have a very thorough process here that people abide by, who are going to have close contact with the president and even beyond that, and those protocols go above and beyond CDC guidelines.”

The reporter pressed Psaki further, asking, “So, you’re not going to say whether or not there’s been a significant outbreak in the various different parts that I mentioned – NSC, State Department, Treasury?”

"We do expect there to be breakthrough cases," press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday, Dec. 20, 2021.
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Again,” Psaki replied, “I point you to different agencies to give any additional information, but I would just note that we do expect there to be breakthrough cases, as there will be across government.”

The comments from the White House followed separate announcements Sunday by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., that they tested positive for the coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated and receiving a booster shot. They all credited their mild symptoms with being vaccinated and boosted against the virus.

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