On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki informed reporters that the administration will not share figures on how many people working for it on the White House property had tested positive for COVID-19.
The discussion of breakthrough cases follows White House staffers and senior officials meeting with the delegation of Texas representatives that fled their state to avoid voting on an election bill. At least six members of that delegation, all fully vaccinated, have since tested positive for COVID-19 and were in close proximity to the undisclosed White House staffers.
Reports earlier this week indicated that several White House staffers, also fully vaccinated, who were in close contact with the Texas representatives also tested positive for COVID-19, as did a senior aide for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
You can watch the exchange here:
Jen Psaki’s reasoning for not being transparent with how many White House staffers have contracted COVID-19:
“I think, one, we’re in a very different place than we were several months ago” pic.twitter.com/F68yYCVRQp
— America Rising (@AmericaRising) July 22, 2021
Here is the transcript of the exchange.
REPORTER: It’s been a couple of days since we talked about the breakthrough case on the campus here and that you acknowledge there were additional breakthrough cases. Can you give us now the number of breakthrough cases that have occurred during the Biden presidency?
JEN PSAKI, PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I would say first that our medical experts, our health experts, have been conveying from the beginning, as have we, that there would be cases of individuals who are vaccinated who tested positive for COVID. There are 2,000 people who work on the campus. And of course, that means that just statistically speaking, there will be people who are vaccinated individuals who get COVID on the campus. What I announced yesterday or conveyed yesterday was what our policy would be moving forward. But no, I don’t think you can expect that we’re going to be providing numbers of breakthrough case now.
REPORTER: Really, that’s not transparency to give us a number, not the names, but a number of these cases? You must have that information.
PSAKI: Well, Kelly, I think one we’re in a very different place than we were several months ago. The vast, vast, vast majority of individuals who are vaccinated who get COVID will have, will be asymptomatic, or have mild cases. Every individual at this White House has been offered a vaccine. And we have been very clear that we will be transparent with anyone who has had close proximity contact with the president or any of the four principles as deemed by the White House medical unit with all of you, and if they approve having their name released, we will also released their names, but we will protect their privacy. That will be our policy moving forward. And we understand and agree that that is in the public interest.