Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’s communications director, Liz Allen, recently tested positive for COVID-19, as did a member of Harris’s flight crew, the Joe Biden campaign announced on Thursday.
“Neither of these people have had contact with vice president Biden, Senator Harris, or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement; nonetheless, Harris’s planned trip to North Carolina on Thursday was canceled, and she will remain off the road until Monday.
Harris has taken two PCR tests this month and come away with negative results, according to O’Malley Dillon. She was with both infected staffers on a flight on October 8, but O’Malley Dillon said the vice presidential candidate and both staffers wore N95 masks for the duration of the flight and were not within six feet of each other.
The Biden campaign’s prompt disclosure of Harris’s potential exposure stands in stark contrast to the secrecy that has pervaded the Trump administration’s response to its own COVID-19 outbreak. More than a dozen people in President Donald Trump’s circle recently tested positive for COVID-19—including Trump himself, first lady Melania Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and presidential aide Hope Hicks—but the White House’s disclosure process has been murky at best.
It’s unclear how long Harris will be off the campaign trail, but O’Malley Dillon turned the news into an opportunity to illustrate the importance of strict health protocols, noting, “The importance of having such protocols—which include testing before resuming duties, regular testing while working in-person, isolation after time off, and masking and distancing while on campaign duties—have been illustrated once again.”