Subscribe
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, speaking with reporters in front of the White House, where he attended the signing of The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, or PACT Act. On Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, McDonough announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, speaking with reporters in front of the White House, where he attended the signing of The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, or PACT Act. On Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, McDonough announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus. (Sara Samora/Stars and Stripes)

Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See more stories here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.

WASHINGTON — Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough has tested positive for the coronavirus, the department announced Friday.

"I routinely test for COVID-19 every day, and today I tested positive,” McDonough said in a prepared statement. “My symptoms are mild, and I am following my physician’s directions.”

He said he will follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and isolate at home for the next five days. He also said he has informed his VA leadership team of his positive test result and will attend meetings and discussions virtually for the remainder of the week and early next week.

McDonough said his last meeting with President Joe Biden was Wednesday at the signing of The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, or PACT Act. The new law will expand eligibility for health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins.

Biden tested positive for the coronavirus on July 21, The Associated Press reported. The president isolated and took the antiviral drug Paxlovid. He tested negative July 26 and 27, but then came down with a rebound case of the virus on July 30. Biden ended his isolation Sunday.

McDonough said he tested negative on the day of the PACT Act signing, which took place at a crowded event at the White House.

An infected person can spread the virus two days before symptoms appear, according to the CDC.

"As I am fully vaccinated and 'boosted,' my physician expects my symptoms to be mild and my recovery swift, and I am grateful for that,” McDonough said. "Vaccines work, and I continue to encourage everyone eligible for a booster shot to get one."

author picture
Sara Samora is a Marine Corps veteran and the veterans reporter for Stars and Stripes. A native Texan, she previously worked at the Houston Business Journal and the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. She also serves on the boards of Military Veterans in Journalism and the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals.

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up