Healthcare

Health Secretary Becerra tests positive for COVID-19 twice in less than a month

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra answers questions during a Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, March 31, 2022.
Greg Nash
Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra answers questions during a Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, the agency announced, the second time he has been infected in less than a month.

“This morning in Sacramento, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive for COVID-19 after taking an antigen test. He is fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, and is experiencing mild symptoms. He will continue to perform his duties as HHS Secretary, working in isolation,” HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim said in a statement.

Becerra previously tested positive for COVID-19 on May 18 while traveling in Berlin ahead of the Group of Seven meetings for health ministers.

Last week, Becerra was in Los Angeles to participate in the Summit of the Americas with President Biden and Vice President Harris. HHS said Becerra is not considered a close contact of either.

Biden so far has avoided having a known case of the virus, but the White House has acknowledged it is possible he will be infected as well. The administration argues that tools such as vaccines, booster shots and treatments now exist that make the virus much more manageable.  

Becerra is not the only official who tested positive following the summit. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday revealed he also tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time this year.

Reinfection is quickly becoming the primary driver of new cases in the United States, showing that immunity from previous infections is no longer able to provide the same level of protection against emerging variants and subvariants.

Infectious disease experts think a typical SARS-CoV-2 infection will likely become less dangerous over time, but the full implications and severity of multiple infections are still not clear.

Tags COVID-19 HHS Joe Biden Kamala Harris Xavier Becerra Xavier Becerra
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