الارشيف / الصحة العامة / CBS News, USA

Ben Carson tests positive for virus, days after White House election party

Washington — Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development (HUD), has tested positive for the coronavirus, a HUD spokesperson said Monday, making him the second senior official who attended an election night event at the White House to contract the virus.

"Secretary Carson is in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery," said Carson's Deputy Chief of Staff Coalter Baker.

Carson's age — 69 — places him in a higher-risk category for serious complications of the virus than some of the others in the Trump administration who have contracted the virus. Carson was a successful neurosurgeon for years.

Officials confirmed over the weekend that chief of staff Mark Meadows had also contracted the virus, along with four other unnamed White House staffers. It's unclear when Meadows or the staffers were first diagnosed, but he was among the hundreds of people who attended the White House's election night party in the East Room, where few masks were worn and social distancing was seldom observed.

David Bossie, the Trump adviser recently tapped to lead the campaign's legal battles in several states over the election results, also contracted COVID-19, according to a senior campaign official. Bossie was among those who attended the gathering at the White House.

A senior administration official said Carson began experiencing symptoms and visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19. The secretary's visit to the hospital was brief, and he's already back home resting, the official said, adding that the secretary has not been around HUD staff recently. The department is conducting contract tracing, according to the official. 

The growing outbreak comes weeks after more than two dozen people in President Trump's orbit tested positive following an Rose Garden event in September for now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, including President Trump.

But the White House didn't learn from that outbreak, and multiple officials within Vice President Mike Pence's inner circle also contracted COVID-19 recently. 

Mr. Trump continued to deride the use of masks even after his bout with COVID-19, which hospitalized him for several days. 

Sara Cook contributed to this report.

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