More than 150 National Guard in Washington for inauguration test positive for coronavirus

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WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: Members of the National Guard gather near the U.S. Capitol before the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Between 150 and 200 National Guard deployed to Washington, D.C., to provide security for President Joe Biden’s inauguration have tested positive for the coronavirus, a U.S. official said on Friday.

The U.S. government imposed unprecedented security measures in the city following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, including fences topped with razor wire and checkpoints manned by National Guard.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the number of National Guard troops who tested positive could rise but was still a small fraction of the more than 25,000 troops deployed to the city over the past few days.

National Guard troops are seen behind shields as they clear a street from protestors outside the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. – Donald Trump’s supporters stormed a session of Congress held today, January 6, to certify Joe Biden’s election win, triggering unprecedented chaos and violence at the heart of American democracy and accusations the president was attempting a coup. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

The United States reported more than 4,000 daily deaths from COVID-19 for a second consecutive day on Thursday, according to a Reuters analysis of public health data, bringing the cumulative number of U.S. lives lost to almost 410,000.

The National Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The military has said arrangements are being made for thousands of troops to return home, and that about 15,000 are expected to leave Washington within the next five to 10 days.

Some 7,000 National Guard personnel are expected to stay at least through the end of the month, officials have said. A smaller number of troops could stay longer.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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