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Trump's security adviser tests positive for COVID-19

Robert O'Brien 'has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location,' says White House

Michael Hernandez   | 27.07.2020
Trump's security adviser tests positive for COVID-19

WASHINGTON

Robert O'Brien, US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, has tested positive for COVID-19, the White House confirmed Monday. 

"He has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site," the White House said in a statement. "The work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted."

O'Brien, 54, is so far the highest ranking Trump administration official known to have contracted the novel coronavirus. One of Trump's personal valets and a spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence previously tested positive. 

It is unclear when O'Brien tested positive, or whether he had any contact with White House personnel, but the executive mansion said Trump and Pence have "no risk of exposure." How O'Brien contracted the virus is also unclear. 

Bloomberg News, which was first to report the development, said he contracted the virus while taking time off work and being with family.

Larry Kudlow, the president's economic adviser, told reporters at the White House that he believes O'Brien was exposed to the virus by his daughter. 

Later Monday Trump denied having seen his national security adviser "lately," and said he did not know when O'Brien tested positive. 

Senior White House staff and the press corps are tested for the virus daily. 

The news comes as Trump himself has pivoted his rhetoric on the pandemic, saying early last week that the situation is likely to worsen before it improves, and imploring Americans to don masks in public after months of being tepid on their importance. 

The US is continuing to see surging cases of the virus, and remains the nation hardest-hit by the outbreak. 

A running tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University counts over 4.2 million confirmed cases, and nearly 147,000 deaths. In all, the tally has recorded nearly 1.3 million recoveries.

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