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Biotech / Medical : Coronavirus / COVID-19 Pandemic

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From: Sam12/17/2021 5:06:21 PM
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Southwest Airlines CEO Kelly Tests Positive for Covid-19--2nd Update
Dow Jones Newswires December 17, 2021 04:17:00 PM ET

Southwest Airlines Co. Chief Executive Gary Kelly, who attended a Senate hearing earlier this week, tested positive for Covid-19, a company spokeswoman said Friday.

Mr. Kelly was at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday with executives from other major airlines, answering lawmakers' questions about the travel recovery. He tested negative multiple times before the hearing and tested positive after returning home, said Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King.

She said Mr. Kelly, 66 years old, is fully vaccinated, received a booster earlier this year and is experiencing mild symptoms.

Other executives at the hearing included American Airlines Group Inc. CEO Doug Parker, United Airlines Holdings Inc. CEO Scott Kirby and Delta Air Lines Inc. Chief of Operations John Laughter.

A United spokeswoman said earlier Friday that Mr. Kirby hadn't tested positive. A Delta spokeswoman said Mr. Laughter tested negative on Thursday and Friday. An American spokeswoman said Mr. Parker has no symptoms, but will be tested Friday afternoon.

Most of the executives wore masks when they arrived at the Capitol. But they, and some committee members, were unmasked when they spoke during the hearing. Others in the room were wearing face coverings.

Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, also testified at Wednesday's Senate committee hearing.

"I was advised by Gary Kelly shortly after he tested positive and, ironically, just as I was returning to work after getting the booster shot," Ms. Nelson said. "I am following CDC protocols and will test several times within the 5-7 day recommended period, and before traveling with my family for the holidays."

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.), the Commerce Committee chairwoman, said the incident underscores the importance of getting vaccinated and following health and safety protocols.

Mr. Kelly's positive test comes as Covid-19 cases have been rising in parts of the U.S., and officials are urging people to take precautions as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads.

The seven-day average of newly reported Covid-19 cases in the U.S. stood at 121,707 on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, compared with 85,060 a month earlier. In Washington, D.C., the seven-day average was 273.6, compared with 87.6 a month earlier.

Write to Alison Sider at alison.sider@wsj.com
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