Nearly 900 employees of the Secret Service – the agency charged with protecting the president and other top U.S. officials – contracted the coronavirus over the course of a year between March 2020 and March 2021, documents reveal, according to a report.
The disclosure comes almost two weeks after Secret Service agents came in contact with a Washington crowd as they guarded Vice President Kamala Harris at a Pride event following her return from a trip to Guatemala and Mexico.
The vaccination status of the vice president’s security detail was unknown.
Information obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) shows that 881 people on the Secret Service payroll were diagnosed with the coronavirus over the one-year period, The Associated Press reported.
More than half of those infected, or 477, worked in the special agent division, which protects the president, vice president, other government leaders and their families, according to the AP.
CREW obtained the government data through the Freedom of Information Act, the report said. Names and work assignments of those with positive tests for the coronavirus were not disclosed, the AP reported.
The organization noted that actions by the Trump administration potentially placed Secret Service agents at risk of contracting the virus but that could not be confirmed because information about the identities of the infected agents was not provided, according to the AP.
After former President Trump was diagnosed with the virus, he took a ride in a presidential vehicle and waved at well-wishers while Secret Service personnel accompanied him in the vehicle. Trump also hosted numerous rallies and other gatherings, including an outdoor announcement of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite local restrictions against large gatherings.
After taking office in January, the Biden administration made a point of holding events with small crowds, including face masks and social distancing.
In recent weeks, however, the masks have come off as more members of the administration and the public have received vaccination shots.
The Secret Service employs about 3,200 special agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division officers and more than 2,000 people in other technical, professional and administrative support jobs, the AP reported.
On its website, the Secret Service warns the public about coronavirus-related scams. But the vaccination requirements and status for Secret Service employees were unclear.
On June 12, Vice President Harris and her husband, second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, were seen unmasked as they joined marchers at the Pride event in Washington, with several Secret Service agents around them.
Harris received her first shot of the Moderna vaccine Dec. 29, then received her second dose Jan. 26. In February, the vice president told reporters she experienced side effects following the second shot.
“The first dose I was fine,” Harris said Feb. 25 while visiting a grocery store in Washington, according to the Washington Examiner. “The second dose I thought I was fine, got up early in the morning, went to work, and then midday, I realized, yeah, I might need to slow down a bit.”
“Just that one day,” she added.
Prior to the Pride event in D.C., Secret Service agents have also accompanied Harris at other appearances in public, such as her May 31 lunch with Emhoff and President Biden and first lady Jill Biden at a D.C. restaurant called Le Diplomate, and a her jog up and down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Feb. 6.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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