US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at a press conference on upcoming infrastructure legislation on June 30, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
A White House official and a staff member for House Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi have tested positive for Covid, officials said.
Both are fully vaccinated and, according to Axios, had attended the same event last week. The two who were not named tested positive on Monday.
The infected White House official had mild symptoms, according to NBC News.
“We know there will be breakthrough cases, but as this case shows, cases in vaccinated people are usually mild,” a White House official told NBC News.
“This is another reminder of the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines against serious illness or hospitalization,” the official added.
The White House official was in no contact with any other directors or staff, the Biden administration confirmed.
The Pelosi employee tested positive after meeting members of the Texas state legislature last week, but has not had any contact with Pelosi since exposure.
Pelosi said she was “so sorry” that the employee tested positive, adding that it increased the need for individuals to wear masks and get vaccinated, her spokeswoman said.
When asked if it was time to bring masks back to the US Capitol, Pelosi said, “It will be left to the Capitol doctor,” the spokesman added.
Pelosi, 81, and President Joe Biden, 78, are fully vaccinated.
The infections come after more than 50 Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives fled the state to Washington, DC last week to oppose a Republican-backed electoral reform bill.
A sixth Texas Democrat tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, according to NBC News.
The Texas state Democrats met with US Senators in the Capitol last week to discuss voting rights. They also met with Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris tested negative for Covid after the meeting, according to CNN.
Covid cases are increasing in the US, especially in counties with low vaccination rates. A CNBC analysis showed that there are 463 counties in the US with high rates of infection, with 80% of those counties having vaccinated less than 40% of their 23 million residents.
Health officials are also increasingly concerned about the Delta variant, which was first identified in India and is significantly more contagious than the original strain. The Delta variant now accounts for 83% of all sequenced Covid cases in the US, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC announced in late May that all approved Covid vaccines had shown effectiveness against the virus in adults over the age of 18. For each vaccine, the overall effectiveness was similar in different populations. This includes young and older adults, people with and without an underlying health condition, and people of different races and ethnicities.
The Pfizer vaccine also showed high efficacy against symptomatic Covid cases in adolescents aged 12 to 17, according to the CDC.
According to an April study by the CDC, fully vaccinated adults aged 65 and over are 94% less likely to be hospitalized with Covid than people of the same age who were not vaccinated.