On Friday, a CNN reporter grilled Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID response coordinator, over Vice President Kamala Harris’ failure to follow CDC standards for COVID-19 exposure.
The White House confirmed that Vice President Kamala Harris was a “close contact” of the president after revealing that President Joe Biden had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Someone who has been deemed a “close contact” should wear a well-fitting mask around others for ten days, according to CDC recommendations. But that is not what happened here.
Instead, on Friday in Washington, D.C., Harris took off her face mask and greeted Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor Randall Woodfin. She also spoke without a mask during the event.
During a White House press briefing, Dr. Jha was repeatedly asked about Harris’ violations of CDC rules by CNN reporter MJ Lee. Jha, on the other hand, would not respond directly to questions regarding Harris’ behavior.
“The vice president is a close contact of the president’s, and CDC advice states that if you’re a close contact, you should wear a well-fitting mask when in social situations. She just gave a speech in D.C. and hugged someone without wearing one. She was also without a mask for the majority of her talk with him. Given that this is the CDC recommendation, would you have advised her to keep her mask on?” Lee inquired.
When asked about the vice president’s conduct, Jha stated that he hadn’t been monitoring the vice president’s activities, adding that Harris was adhering to CDC standards.
“I suppose she isn’t following the CDC advice, though — is she? – if she is hugging someone without a mask on?” Lee questioned. “I was just wondering whether or not you wanted to clarify anything.”
Jha refused to respond further, stating that he had not seen the event, despite acknowledging that “the CDC advice is clear.”
“She removed her mask and embraced someone. You don’t have to see it. I mean, that’s what occurred,” Lee countered back.
“When people talk about having contact, it’s usually for a long time,” Jha explained. “I didn’t see the hug; I don’t know how long the embrace went on. However, it’s extremely difficult for me to discuss anything since I didn’t witness it.”
A representative for Harris also declined to comment on how Harris was avoiding CDC instructions.
The vice president tested negative for COVID-19 this morning and has no symptoms, according to Harris press secretary Kirsten Allen.