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HHS Secretary Becerra tests positive for COVID-19 again

President Joe Biden’s top health official has tested positive again for COVID-19 less than a month after experiencing virus symptoms on a trip to Germany. US

President Joe Biden’s top health official has tested positive again for COVID-19 less than a month after experiencing virus symptoms on a trip to Germany.

US Secretary of Health Xavier Becerra woke up again on Monday morning with symptoms and then tested positive, said spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim.

His symptoms are mild and he is isolating in Sacramento, California. Lovenheim said Becerra was in California on a “personal obligation.”

A statement from HHS said the secretary is not considered to be a close liaison with Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris, who also tested positive earlier this spring.

Becerra continues to work in isolation.

Becerra joined Biden at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last week. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that he had tested positive after attending the event, which was attended by dignitaries, diplomats and business leaders from across the hemisphere.

Becerra is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot to protect against the virus.

In May, Becerra tested positive while convening in Berlin for a meeting of health ministers from the Group of Seven Wealthy Nations to discuss the ongoing pandemic. His office said at the time he had mild symptoms and was continuing to work from isolation.

According to HHS, Becerra tested negative for COVID before returning to the United States and several times thereafter before testing positive Monday.

It is possible to catch the virus again and get COVID-19 more than once. It’s unclear how often people become reinfected so soon after the initial illness, but an early study found it’s possible, though rare, to test positive for a type of variant called omicron 20 to 60 days after testing positive BA.2 to be tested for the original omicron.

The currently dominant viral mutant in the US, which scientists are calling BA.2.12.1, is also a member of the Omicron family but has a genetic trait called a “delta mutation” that appears to allow it to override pre-existing immunity Escaping vaccinations and previous infection – especially if someone was infected with the original omicron.

It’s also possible that Becerra didn’t clear his previous infection – despite testing negative.

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AP reporter Zeke Miller and AP science writer Laura Ungar contributed to this story.

Tom Murphy, The Associated Press


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