Psaki resumes White House briefings after COVID diagnosis

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Jen Psaki resumed her daily press briefings Friday, nearly two weeks after she was diagnosed with COVID-19, joking that one downside to returning was having to wear professional footwear.

“It’s great to be back with all of you,” Psaki said, “although as a longtime hater of heels I do miss my slippers, which I’m sure some of the women in this room can agree with.”

It was her first appearance in the White House press briefing room since Oct. 27.

Psaki had planned to accompany President Joe Biden to world leader summits in Rome and Glasgow, Scotland, but announced Oct. 28 as he was about to depart that she was skipping the trip after members of her household tested positive for COVID-19.

She announced three days later, on Halloween, that she ultimately had tested positive, too.

Psaki, 42, observed a 10-day quarantine that ended Wednesday, when a negative test result cleared her return under White House COVID-19 protocols, she said. No briefing was scheduled Thursday because of the Veterans Day federal holiday.

Her symptoms were mild, mostly fatigue, she said, giving credit to COVID-19 vaccines.

“I remain incredibly grateful for the vaccine and the impact of the vaccine in keeping me safe and other people in my house safe as well,” Psaki said.

Deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre traveled with Biden and conducted press briefings during Psaki’s absence.

Psaki also used her reappearance in the briefing room to segue into the latest steps by the administration to combat the coronavirus, including the authorization of vaccines for children ages 5-11 and millions of dollars in federal aid to help companies ramp up production of coronavirus tests that people can administer at home.

“I know I ordered some from Walmart myself, they came the next day and I used them at home,” Psaki said.