Pelosi tests positive for COVID-19
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine, her office announced Thursday morning.
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, announced Pelosi’s diagnosis in a statement, saying the Speaker is showing no symptoms associated with the virus.
“After testing negative this week, Speaker Pelosi received a positive test result for COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic. The Speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided,” Hammill also wrote in a tweet.
“The Speaker will quarantine consistent with CDC guidance, and encourages everyone to get vaccinated, boosted and test regularly,” he said.
Pelosi was at the White House on Wednesday alongside President Biden for the signing of a Postal Service reform bill. The announcement of her diagnosis came moments before Pelosi was scheduled to stage her weekly press conference in the Capitol, sending the gathered reporters scrambling to deliver the news. The press conference was quickly canceled.
The diagnosis also arrives as the House is preparing to leave Washington for an 18-day recess around the Easter holiday. A number of lawmakers have scheduled overseas trips during the break, including Pelosi, who had reportedly planned to visit Taiwan on Sunday — a trip prompting threats of retaliation from Beijing.
Pelosi’s office has decline to confirm that trip, but Hammill on Thursday said a “planned Congressional delegation to Asia” has been postponed to an unspecified date.
Pelosi’s positive test comes as Democrats, after more than two years promoting strict COVID-19 public health precautions, are shifting away from those measures as cases of the omicron variant recede around the country. From the White House, Biden is planning to remove controversial emergency restrictions on immigration, put in place by his predecessor, while Pelosi has recently relaxed mask mandates around the Capitol complex.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (Calif.), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said the plan to relax the border policies reflects the simple fact that “the underlying health conditions have changed in this country.”
“We can’t pick and choose which refugees and which asylum seekers come to this country, whether they are Central American or whether they are Ukrainian,” Aguilar told reporters earlier this week. “And so we’re working with the administration, and the administration has indicated that they have plans to address this. But we are moving past this pandemic.”
Still, there are clear signs that the pandemic is far from over. A number of prominent policymakers, including several of Biden’s Cabinet secretaries, tested positive for COVID-19 following their attendance at Washington’s annual Gridiron Dinner over the weekend. And Democratic leaders are pressing hard for billions of dollars more in pandemic relief to boost testing, vaccinations and other precautionary measures — a bill that stalled in the Senate on Wednesday over Republican opposition to eliminating the migrant restrictions at the southern border.
“This pandemic is not over,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday. “We’re still having people die, we’re still having people get sick. … And we can’t take our eye off the ball in making sure that we continue to help.”
Updated at 1:41 p.m.
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