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U.S. Secret Service stands guard as the Marine One helicopter, with President Joe Biden on board.
U.S. Secret Service stands guard as the Marine One helicopter, with President Joe Biden on board. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Almost 900 active U.S. Secret Service employees — most of them responsible for protecting government officials and buildings — were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the year ending in March.

Special Agents, who protect the president, vice president and their families, made up more than half of the 881 employees who were infected, according to government records obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The uniformed division, which guards the White House and other federal buildings, made up the next largest group of infections.

The group, citing records obtained under the Freedom of Information act, on Tuesday described the number of Secret Service employees testing positive between March 1, 2020, and March 9, 2021.

The time frame covers peak periods of the pandemic when President Donald Trump was in office, and extends into the first few months of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Trump routinely held campaign rallies and other events that violated public health guidelines by holding large-scale gatherings with little social distancing or use of masks. Trump shunned the use of masks at the White House. Late last year, Trump was hospitalized with the virus and a number of other administration officials tested positive.

The Secret Service employs about 3,200 special agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division officers and more than 2,000 other administrative personnel, according to the agency’s website. These administrative staff contracted coronavirus at a comparatively lower rate.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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