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US Secretary of Defense has contracted COVID-19

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As my doctor made clear to me, my fully vaccinated status and the booster I received in early October made the infection much milder than it would have been otherwise., he said in a statement.

I continue to encourage everyone who is eligible for a booster dose to take it.

A quote from Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense

Mr Austin had requested a test earlier on Sunday after showing symptoms while at home on vacation. His last contact with President Joe Biden was on December 21, more than a week before he began to experience symptoms, and that he had tested negative that morning. His last presence at the Pentagon was on Thursday.

He said he plans to attend meetings virtually whenever possible and that he will retain all authorities to lead the Defense Department and oversee military activities around the world.

His assistant, Kathleen Hicks, would represent him in certain activities, he said.

Austin is one of the oldest members of President Joe Biden’s administration to test positive for COVID-19.

Its infection comes after the Pentagon tightened restrictions on its headquarters last week over concerns over the highly contagious Omicron variant which has led to a surge in COVID-19 infections worldwide.

In October, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for the virus.

Omicron dominates the country

U.S. authorities recorded at least 346,869 new coronaviruses on Saturday, according to a Reuters tally. The death toll in the United States from COVID-19 has increased from at least 377 to 828,562 victims.

Leading US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that there was still a risk of increased hospitalizations due to a large number of coronavirus cases, even though early data suggests the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 is less serious than the other variants.

The Omicron variant accounts for 58.6% of cases in the United States as of December 25, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) the United States.

Dr Fauci added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon release clarification on whether people with COVID-19 should test negative to leave isolation, after confusion last week over guidelines that would allow people to leave after five days without symptoms.

With information from Reuters

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