WASHINGTON—As she surreptitiously produced the device to obtain a much-needed dose of nicotine during a press conference Wednesday, sources confirmed U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine hoped no one saw the quick hit she took from her vape pen. “I need to relax, and besides, I’m always a lot more focused after I’ve gotten my fix,” Levine reportedly thought to herself, exhaling slowly to avoid drawing notice to the sour blue raspberry vapor that escaped her nose and mouth as she discussed the transmissibility of new Covid variants and strategies for improving health outcomes in disadvantaged communities. “It’s not like I vape constantly. Just a little juice to get me through the day is all. But I know [Health and Human Services Secretary] Xavier [Becerra] would flip out if he caught me.” At press time, Levine was pretending not to understand a reporter’s question about why the podium was enveloped in a large plume of mist that smelled like breakfast cereal.