Richmond’s positive diagnosis marks Biden’s closest brush with contracting the virus since the onset of the pandemic, and it spooked some Democrats worried about Biden’s susceptibility of contracting the virus just days before the 78-year-old president-elect is scheduled to receive a vaccine.
One person advising the transition on the pandemic said Richmond’s diagnosis shows the limits of the team’s protective measures against a pernicious and contagious virus. And it raises questions about how the team will prevent infections once Biden is sworn in, when they’ll have to have more in-person meetings and events.
“It doesn’t surprise me that he turned up positive given the out-of-control spread we’re seeing across the country right now,” the adviser said of Richmond. “But the real question now is what this means for our safety protocols once Biden is in office. There are still open questions about what the capacity will be in government buildings and what testing will look like for the entire government. Right now, everything is on the table: rapid testing, saliva testing, and everything in between.”