White House Infected with Coronavirus

Photo+from+Business+Insider

Photo from Business Insider

Lauren Wong and Rory Silcox

During this pandemic, the White House and its staff members have been working to keep the spread of the virus contained. However, in their efforts, 2 members of the White House have tested positive. President Donald Trump’s personal military valet, who may have delivered the President’s meals. The other person who tested positive for COVID-19 is Katie Miller who is the spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence. So far, no other staff members working in the White House have tested positive for the coronavirus. All staff members in the West Wing are tested weekly and those who are close to the President and Vice President are tested daily. Employees are also required to wear masks around the White House, except when they are at their desks. The White House has implemented a strict rule that people have to stay six feet apart at all times during meetings and conferences. 

Staff members in the East Wing, people who work for Melania Trump, have been working remotely from home. Not many others are self-quarantining. However, 3 of the government’s top health officials have started their own self-isolation. Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Stephan Hahn, the commissioner of Food and Drug Administration is currently in self-quarantine. 

People working in the White House have stated that going to work can be dreadful. “It is scary to go to work…It’s a small, crowded place. It’s, you know, it’s a little bit risky. But you have to do it because you serve your country,” said Kevin Hassett, the top economic adviser to the President. Craig Fugale, the head of federal emergency operations for President Obama says, “If you can’t keep it out of the White House, how are you going to keep it out of the community?” People are trying their best to stay home and wear a mask wherever they go although Trump reportedly “refuses” to wear a mask himself. He also is “annoyed” to learn that Miller tested positive for coronavirus and gets irritated when people come close to him. The President also claims that COVID-19 will go away without a vaccine based on no evidence.  

The test that the White House is currently using to test all of their employees is the ID Now test by Abbott Laboratories. This test is beneficial because of its size and speed. The machine can produce a result in 5-13 minutes and is about the size of a toaster oven. The ID Now test was given emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on March 27. But doctors and hospitals have been turning away from using this test because they say that it produces false negatives. This means that the machine is telling people that they don’t have the coronavirus when they could actually be carrying and spreading the disease around. Although during at least one news conference they used the ID Now test as a prop. Trump has stated that the tests are “highly accurate.”

More and more people around the White House are wearing masks regularly. Some are even being tested daily. While the rest of the country is fighting to maintain COVID-19, the White House is just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg of infections.

 

Information from the New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, the Los Angelas Times, Business Insider, and NBC News