Mayorkas says ‘everything’ keeps him up at night; justice is a process
Alejandro Mayorkas says ‘everything’ about his job as Department of Homeland Security secretary keeps him up at night, and ‘justice is a process.’
Hannah Gaber, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday morning, the department said.
DHS spokesperson Marsha Espinosa said in a statement that Mayorkas tested positive after “taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols.” Mayorkas was expected to travel to Colombia this week with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“He is experiencing only mild congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will isolate and work at home per CDC protocols and medical advice,” Espinosa said.
The department is currently conducting contact tracing.
While COVID-19 breakthrough cases have been very rare among the large numbers of those vaccinated, they can still happen because no vaccines are 100% effective.
Severe infections in people who have been fully vaccinated are rare, generally occurring in people whose immune systems are weakened by their advanced age or medical condition. Vaccinated people are 8 times less likely to be infected and 25 times less likely to experience hospitalization or death, according to CDC studies.
Mayorkas’s diagnosis comes several days after he attended an event where the president spoke.
President Joe Biden delivered remarks at the 40th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday. First Lady Jill Biden was also in attendance.
During his remarks, Biden thanked Mayorkas for attending the event.
“To Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas, thank you for being here and for the great job you’re doing for us,” he said. “Thank you very, very much. And it’s a tough job.”
No White House principal, including the president, has been determined to be a close contact of Mayorkas, a White House official said, noting the most recent contact was an outdoor event outside of a 48-hour close contact window.
Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_
Contributing: Ella Lee, Karen Weintraub