Harris presides over Senate maskless after close contact with COVID positive staffer, defying CDC guidelines

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Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to violated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by presiding over the Senate without a mask despite acknowledging she had been exposed to a COVID positive individual the day before.

“Harris’ office said yesterday she was in close contact w/ her comms director who tested positive for Covid,” Politico reporter Alex Thompson tweeted Thursday. “But she didn’t wear her mask part of the time while presiding over the Senate today. CDC guidance for boosted ppl is wear a mask for 10 days.”

Vice President Kamala Harris.

The CDC website states that vaccinated individuals who are exposed to someone who is COVID positive should wear a mask for 10 days when around others.

The communications director for Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, a day after he attended a ceremony at the White House where he was in close contact with Harris and former President Barack Obama without a mask.

“Jamal Simmons, the Vice President’s Communications Director, tested positive for COVID-19 today,” Harris’ press secretary Kirsten Allen said in a statement. “Jamal was in close contact to the Vice President as defined by CDC guidance. Jamal is isolating and working from home.”

Vice President Kamala Harris talks about the effect of pollution on her sight and taste remarks at the Prince George’s County Brandywine Maintenance Facility on Dec. 13, 2021, in Brandywine, Maryland. 
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In a statement provided to Politico, a White House official said that Harris consulted with a White House doctor and practiced “social distancing” with “limited” and “brief” interactions with others.

Later in the day, Harris was spotted at an event at the National Gallery of Art speaking to a crowd without a mask.

Harris’s maskless appearance presiding over the confirmation vote of soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson comes the same day White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki used CDC guidelines to justify House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has tested positive for COVID, kissing President Biden on the cheek.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 5: Former President Barack Obama hugs Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the end of an event to mark the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House on April 5, 2022. 
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Their definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time, within six feet,” Psaki responded, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition of “close contact.” “It did not meet that bar.”

Fox News’ Jon Brown contributed to this report

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