Harris has spent much of the past week in California and returned to Washington on Monday evening from Los Angeles.
Scores of public officials contracted the virus last month, a spread that appeared to be linked at least in part to a handful of events, including the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced positive tests just days after attending the dinner.
Harris’ positive test comes as the White House tries to manage the crises on multiple fronts. It also comes as the White House has sought to project a new phase in the fight against the pandemic, one in which the country would learn to live with and largely manage the virus. The White House continued to aggressively push Americans to get vaccinated or vaccinated.
The White House has had a rough patch with Covid. At the end of March, press officer Jen Psaki was infected a second time, and her assistant, Karine Jean-Pierre, tested positive shortly after. Harris’ husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, also had the virus in mid-March.
A White House official confirmed that other employees have also been infected and that these infections were expected because the most transmissible subvariant of Omicron, BA.2, becomes the dominant strain in the United States and leads to a new wave of cases.
The official said the Biden administration does not believe a new wave will disrupt operations, in part because White House staff are almost universally vaccinated and symptoms so far for those who have tested positive were light.
PSAki has repeatedly stressed that the White House’s strict protocols go beyond CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of directors, noting that anyone who meets or travels with the president and vice president is tested beforehand.