The Slatest

Kamala Harris Cancels Trips After Staffer, Crew Member Test Positive for COVID

Kamala Harris wearing a face mask with an airplane in the background.
Sen. Kamala Harris in Phoenix on Oct. 8. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris has suspended campaign travel through Sunday after two people accompanying her tested positive for the coronavirus, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Joe Biden’s campaign manager, said in a statement on Thursday. Harris communications director Liz Allen and a non-staff flight crew member tested positive late Wednesday, Dillion said.

Harris was not in close contact, as outlined in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, with Allen and the crew member in two days prior to their positive tests and therefore does not need to quarantine, Dillon said. She added Harris will take the “highest levels of precaution” to ensure safety and will maintain a “robust and aggressive” schedule of virtual campaigning.

Allen and the crew member were on a flight with Harris on Oct. 8—the day after the vice-presidential debate—and all three were wearing N95 masks. Both then attended “personal, non-campaign events” in the past week, Dillon said, adding that “Under our campaign’s strict health protocols, both individuals had to be tested before returning to their work with the campaign from these personal events.”

Both Allen and the crew member tested negative before and after the Oct. 8 flight, while Harris had taken two tests since Oct. 8—on Monday and Wednesday of this week—and tested negative. Harris is set to resume in-person campaigning Monday, while her husband, Doug Emhoff—who also has canceled his travel—will continue campaigning Friday.

The announcement was applauded for its level of transparency, notably more detailed than the White House’s updates on President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis these past few weeks. “Five months covering the Trump campaign, where several members of campaign and White House staff have tested positive for Covid, and I have never received a release detailing possible Covid exposure in this detail,” CNN reporter DJ Judd tweeted. The Trump administration has received widespread criticism for its lack of transparency on Trump’s health, including from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said the administration’s “contradictory statements” and “cover-ups” greatly endanger the nation.

Trump appeared at a rally in North Carolina on Thursday before heading to a town hall hosted by NBC News, which will air at the same time as a town hall with Biden on ABC. The president has tested negative for coronavirus “on consecutive days,” according to a statement released Monday from Dr. Sean Conley, the physician to the president. It’s unclear which consecutive days he tested negative.