Pompeo Quarantines, but Tests Negative for Coronavirus

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is quarantining after an encounter with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, the State Department said Wednesday. Pompeo tested negative. The top U.S. diplomat “is being closely monitored by the department’s medical team,” a spokesperson said. The agency said that “for reasons of privacy,” it would not identify the infected person who came in contact with Pompeo. “The secretary has been tested and is negative,” the spokesperson said, but in accordance with the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “he will be in quarantine.” It was not known how Pompeo encountered someone infected with the virus. On Tuesday, he hosted an indoor State Department holiday party, although The Washington Post reported that only a few dozen of the 900 invited guests — family members of diplomats posted abroad — attended amid health warnings that it could become a superspreader event. Pompeo canceled his planned speech at the gathering. Last week, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey called for Pompeo to cancel the party to avoid “reckless health risk” to department employees and event staff. Even as the first coronavirus vaccinations have started in the United States, the number of new infections continues to surge by tens of thousands a day. More than 16.7 million infections and 304,000 deaths have been recorded in the U.S., more than in any other country, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

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