US Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19

Both Biden and Harris are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received two booster shots.

 US VICE President Kamala Harris speaks to members of the media after attending the Munich Security Conference last month. (photo credit: Andrew Harnik/Reuters)
US VICE President Kamala Harris speaks to members of the media after attending the Munich Security Conference last month.
(photo credit: Andrew Harnik/Reuters)

US Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday but is not exhibiting symptoms, a spokesperson said, at a time when there has been an increase in cases among White House staffers.

Harris has not been in close contact with President Joe Biden or first lady Jill Biden due to their travel schedules, her press secretary Kirsten Allen said. Harris will isolate and return to the White House when she tests negative, Allen said.

Infections have risen in some parts of the United States due to the highly transmissible Omicron BA.2 subvariant, even as cases are falling overall, according to public health officials.

In recent weeks, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Harris' communications director Jamal Simmons, White House press secretary Jen Psaki and deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre disclosed positive tests.

Other high-ranking officials to test positive this month have included U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, second in the line of succession to the presidency after Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris depart after delivering speeches to mark the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, US., January 6, 2022. (credit: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/REUTERS)US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris depart after delivering speeches to mark the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, US., January 6, 2022. (credit: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/REUTERS)

US Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said on Twitter that he had tested positive on Tuesday.

Administration officials have said recently that President Biden's regular contact with advisers and supporters could expose him to COVID-19.

However, the administration is keen to project a sense of normalcy as many Americans are returning to work and socializing with friends and family, they said.

Both Biden and Harris are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received two booster shots. They have in recent weeks mingled with unmasked guests at the White House, including an event attended by 200 guests with former President Barack Obama to talk about Democrats' signature healthcare law.

With midterm elections scheduled for November, 51% of Americans disapprove of Biden's job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, as the country struggles with high inflation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, pushing Biden, Harris and high-ranking administration officials to travel more and spend more time in large groups without a mask.