Defense secretary Austin tests positive for COVID for second time

His last in-person contact with President Joe Biden was July 29; the secretary first tested positive in January.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday he has tested positive for COVID-19, is experiencing mild symptoms and will quarantine at home. It’s the second time Austin has gotten the coronavirus.

In a statement, Austin, 69, said he is fully vaccinated and has received two boosters. He said he’ll quarantine for the next five days in accordance with CDC guidelines and “will retain all authorities and plan to maintain my normal work schedule virtually from home.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks with reporters after a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the Pentagon Monday in Washington. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP)

Austin said his last in-person contact with President Joe Biden was on July 29.

In January, Austin also contracted COVID and had received a booster in October.

“Now, as in January, my doctor told me that my fully vaccinated status, including two booster shots, is why my symptoms are less severe than would otherwise be the case,” Austin said. “I will continue to consult closely with my doctor in the coming days.”

He added, “Vaccinations continue to both slow the spread of COVID-19 and to make its health effects less severe. Vaccination remains a medical requirement for our workforce, and I continue to encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated and boosted.”

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