Three members of the White House Coronavirus task force quarantined themselves after being in contact with someone tested positive for COVID-19, another blunt reminder that not even one of the safest buildings in the states United is not immune to the virus.
According to a representative of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Anthony Fauci, a high-level member of the coronavirus response team, is considered to be at relatively low risk based on the degree of his exposure.
Fauci, the 79-year-old director of NIAID, has tested negative for COVID-19 and will continue to be tested regularly, the official said in an email statement.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “will telecommute for the next two weeks” after determining he had “low risk exposure” to someone in the White House, the CDC said in a statement Saturday evening. The statement said he was feeling well and had no symptoms.
A few hours earlier, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn had contacted a person who tested positive and self-quarantined for the next two weeks. He tested negative for the virus.
The two men were scheduled to testify before a Senate committee Tuesday, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert who is also a member of the task force. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the panel, said the White House would allow the two men to testify by videoconference, a unique exception to administration policies regarding the hearing of testimony.
Trump is not worried
Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, making him the second person at the White House complex known to be positive for the virus this week. White House officials confirmed on Thursday that a member of the armed forces serving as Trump’s valet had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump, who publicly identified the affected Pence’s assistant as Katie Miller’s spokesperson, said he was “not worried” about the spread of the virus in the White House. However, officials said they are tightening security protocols for the complex.
Miller had recently been in contact with Pence but not with the president and had turned out to be negative a day earlier. She is married to Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s best advisers. The White House made no immediate comments on whether Stephen Miller had been tested or whether he was still working at the White House.
The CDC and the FDA would not disclose the identity of the person who tested positive and with whom the agency’s officials came into contact.
Top military leaders meet without masks
Redfield sought to use the exhibit as a learning moment. The CDC statement says if he has to go to the White House to fulfill his responsibilities on the coronavirus task force, he will follow CDC practices for workers in critical infrastructure. These guidelines require Redfield and anyone working in the workgroup to take their temperature and track symptoms every day, cover their faces and distance themselves from others.
Trump resisted wearing a mask and in a meeting with the country’s top military leaders on Saturday evening, he did not wear a mask during the brief portion that journalists were allowed to see. The generals around Trump weren’t wearing masks either, but the participants sat a few feet apart.
FDA spokesperson Stephanie Caccomo said Hahn had tested negative for the virus after learning of the contact. He wrote a note to staff Friday to alert them.
Friday, six people who had been in contact with Miller were to travel with Pence to Des Moines, Iowa, on Air Force Two. They were removed from the flight just before takeoff, according to a senior administration official.
None of these people had any symptoms, but were asked to disembark so they could be tested “by too much caution,” a senior administration official told reporters traveling with Pence. All six were then tested negative, the White House said.
Pence staff tested less frequently
The official said that staff in the west wing are tested regularly, but much of Pence’s staff – who work alongside in the executive office building – is tested less frequently. Katie Miller was not on the plane and had not been scheduled for the trip.
Pence, which is tested regularly, was tested on Friday. Miller tweeted that she was “fine” and was looking forward to going back to work.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the administration was stepping up the mitigation efforts already recommended by public health experts and taking other unspecified precautions to keep the president safe. He said the White House is “probably the safest place you can come,” but that it is considering new measures to keep Trump and Pence safe.
The White House demands daily temperature monitoring of everyone entering the White House complex and has encouraged social distancing among those who work in the building. The administration also ordered regular deep cleaning of all workspaces. Anyone who comes close to the president and vice-president is tested daily for COVID-19.
The Trump valeter’s case marked the first known case where a person who came close to the president tested positive since several people in his private Florida club were diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month. March.
The White House was preparing to consolidate its protection protocols to protect the country’s political leaders. Trump has said that certain staff members who interact closely with him will now be tested daily. Pence told reporters on Thursday that he and Trump will now also be tested daily.