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Despite Smooch On Cheek, Biden Technically Was Not ‘A Close Contact’ With Pelosi Under CDC Guidance


On Thursday morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19. Many immediately thought of 79-year-old President Joe Biden as the two were with each other on Tuesday and Wednesday. Biden even smooched Pelosi on the cheek in a polite manner at one point. It seemed Biden was in “close contact” with a COVID-19 positive patient.

Yet Thursday afternoon, the White House denied that the time the two spent together qualified as “close contact,” according to medical health experts.

After looking at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance on how to determine if people qualify as being in “close contact” with one another, you can only wonder what sort of science the CDC is using to determine that status. It appears to be a game of inches.


“How can you guys say that President Biden was not a close contact with speaker Pelosi when there’s video of the speaker kissing him?” Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday afternoon.

“Their definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time, within six feet,” Psaki responded, referring to the CDC, “It did not meet that bar.”

That interaction can be seen here:

As it turns out, Psaki is technically correct under the CDC’s definition of the term.

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Here is what the CDC’s website says about “close contact,” with original emphasis:

Was the person less than 6 feet away from someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19? Consider time spent with someone with COVID-19 starting 2 days before the infected person developed symptoms, or the date they were tested if they do not have symptoms, until they started isolation.

Has the person been in the presence of someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period?

If the answers to the questions above are both yes, the person is a close contact, regardless of whether the person was wearing a mask properly.

If the answer to either of the questions above is no, the person is not a close contact.

Let’s look at a chronology of events surrounding Pelosi and Biden.

Pelosi tested positive Thursday morning, or sometime before that. Per the CDC, individuals should go back 48 hours to retrace time spent with the positive patients to understand their risk. In Pelosi’s case, that would put us on Tuesday morning, at the latest.

Biden joined Pelosi in person at an Affordable Care Act event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C, on Tuesday afternoon. Based on video, Pelosi stood within six feet of Biden for at least two minutes during that event. Biden shook hands with everybody around him after concluding the ceremony. That’s when they kissed:

On Wednesday, Pelosi again joined Biden at the White House for a Postal Service Reform Act ceremony. She sat in the front row this time. A rough estimate, based on a source with knowledge of traditional White House operations, shows Pelosi sat at least six feet away from Biden in the front row for more than 15 minutes. The two mingled after the event as well.

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Had she been five feet, 11 inches away from Biden during his speech, she would have counted as “close contact” under the CDC’s guidance.

If it can be proven they were within six feet of each other for more than 15 minutes on Tuesday and Wednesday, then he would arguably count as being in “close contact.”

But she wasn’t and there is no direct proof that the two were within a certain space of each other for a certain time, so he is apparently safe from Pelosi’s germs regardless of their exchange of pleasantries.

Please draw your own conclusions from that logic.

Story cited here.

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