Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Tests Positive For COVID-19
In SummaryAustin credited the COVID-19 vaccine and booster for his experience with mild symptoms.
Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin III, has tested positive for COVID-19.
According to an official release from the United States Department of Defense, Austin tested positive on Sunday. “My symptoms are mild, and I am following my physician’s directions,” Austin said. “In keeping with those directions, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, I will quarantine myself at home for the next five days.”
Austin said President Joe Biden and the Department of Defense staff have been notified and began contact tracing and testing. His last meeting with the president was on Dec. 21, 2021.
He is fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and said it has helped. “As my doctor made clear to me, my fully vaccinated status—and the booster I received in early October—have rendered the infection much more mild than it would otherwise have been. And I am grateful for that,” Austin said. “The vaccines work and will remain a military medical requirement for our workforce. I continue to encourage everyone eligible for a booster shot to get one.”
The latest COVID-19 variant, omicron, is now the most dominant strain of the virus in the United States. Dutch health officials reported cases of the strain in mid-November, but South African scientists identified omicron and reported it to global health authorities, BNC previously reported.
On Dec. 1, the first U.S. case of the omicron variant was discovered in California. This came as the World Health Organization designated it as a “variant of concern.”
Like Austin, public health officials continue to advocate for vaccines as the best way to protect oneself against the virus and the various strains. According to The Hill, in Harris County, Texas, an unvaccinated man with underlying health conditions became the first U.S. death linked to the omicron variant.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine COVID-19 tracker, as of Dec. 21, the United States has had more than 51 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 826,000 COVID-related deaths.