US Defense Chief Tests Positive for COVID

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday he tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time this year and is experiencing mild symptoms.

The Pentagon chief said in a statement that he will continue to work a normal schedule but do so virtually from home. Austin said he would quarantine for the next five days in accordance with CDC guidelines and “retain all authorities.”

In January, Austin, 69, also contracted COVID-19.

“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,” he said.

Austin said he would continue to consult closely with his doctor in the coming days.

The defense chief urged all Americans to get vaccinated, saying the inoculations “continue to both slow the spread of COVID-19 and to make its health effects less severe.”

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

Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on July 21 and came out of isolation July 27. He tested positive again on July 30 and spent another week in isolation.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.