Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tests positive for COVID-19

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. 

“I tested positive this morning for COVID-19. I requested the test today after exhibiting symptoms while at home on leave,” Austin said in a statement.

He added that he was experiencing mild symptoms and planned to quarantine at home for five days. 

“Stemming the spread of this virus, safeguarding our workforce and ensuring my own speedy and safe recovery remain my priorities,” his statement added. “To the degree possible, I plan to attend virtually this coming week those key meetings and discussions required to inform my situational awareness and decision making.”

The defense secretary noted that he would “retain all authorities” but that Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks would represent him “as appropriate in other matters.”

Austin’s infection comes shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its guidance to shorten the length of quarantine from 10 days to five days for people who test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic or have symptoms that are resolving. That isolation period should be followed by five days of masking around others, the agency said. 

Earlier on Sunday, Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser, said that the CDC was considering further amending its isolation guidance for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases with a possible testing requirement. 

“There has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested. That is something that is now under consideration,” Fauci said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

The Pentagon has faced pushback on its vaccine requirement for members of the military, particularly from Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).

However, the Oklahoma National Guard said Thursday that unvaccinated airmen cannot participate in drills, days after a federal judge turned down the state’s bid to block the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate.

Tags Anthony Fauci Kathleen Hicks Lloyd Austin

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