U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra has once again tested positive for COVID-19, just 25 days since he last announced he had the virus, according to a news release from the department.
The release said Becerra, who last tested positive on May 18 while traveling in Europe, was experiencing mild symptoms.
“This morning in Sacramento, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive for COVID-19 after taking an antigen test,” the release said. “He is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is experiencing mild symptoms. He will continue to perform his duties, working in isolation.”
The news follows the announcement that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has contracted the virus for the second time. “I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. I’ll be following public health guidelines and isolating. I feel okay, but that’s because I got my shots. So, if you haven’t, get vaccinated – and if you can, get boosted. Let’s protect our healthcare system, each other, and ourselves,” Trudeau tweeted on Monday.
I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. I’ll be following public health guidelines and isolating. I feel okay, but that’s because I got my shots. So, if you haven’t, get vaccinated – and if you can, get boosted. Let’s protect our healthcare system, each other, and ourselves.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 13, 2022
Trudeau’s announcement came just days after he met with President Joe Biden and several foreign leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
“Trudeau met with several other U.S. officials during the trip, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), as well as the leaders of Argentina, Jamaica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic. Chilean President Gabriel Boric met with Trudeau in Ottawa on June 6,” The Washington Post said. The paper then added, “White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said Biden is not a close contact of Trudeau as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The announcements came as COVID cases are back up and the World Health Organization (WHO) issued new warnings.
The COVID-19 pandemic is “most certainly not over,” WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned late last month, according to U.N. News.
The WHO head said, “We lower our guard at our peril.”
“So, is COVID-19 over? No, it’s most certainly not over. I know that’s not the message you want to hear, and it’s definitely not the message I want to deliver,” he said.
Ghebreyesus told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the WHO’s annual meeting that declining testing and sequencing means “we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.” In addition, he said that while billions are vaccinated against the virus, nearly one billion people in lower-income countries still are not.
While some 60% of the world’s population is vaccinated, he said, “it’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere.”
Ghebreyesus mentioned, “reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions,” the UN reported.
“ … And this in a world in which testing rates have plummeted,” the WHO head added.
He noted that the virus is spreading rapidly in Africa, where the vaccination rate is the lowest worldwide. And he said that while there appears to be ample supply of the vaccine, there is “insufficient political commitment to roll out vaccines” in some countries, while there remain gaps in “operational or financial capacity” in other nations.
“In all, we see vaccine hesitancy driven by misinformation and disinformation,” Ghebreyesus said. “The pandemic will not magically disappear. But we can end it. We have the knowledge. We have the tools. Science has given us the upper hand,” he said, calling on countries to work together to reach 70% of vaccination coverage.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as a White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.