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Since President Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump both tested positive for the coronavirus, several members of the White House, Congress, and Trump’s campaign have also been infected with the virus.
Source: Good Morning America/Youtube
Trump and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19 after White House aide Hope Hicks was diagnosed with the virus. Despite Hicks’ close contact with the president, Trump continued traveling across the country, speaking at rallies, fundraisers, and other events where the president and many attendees were not social distancing nor wearing masks. After returning his hospitalization, Trump hosted a public rally at the White House and plan to get back on the road despite concerns from public health officials.
NBC News has tracked the positive cases of COVID-19 in the president’s inner circle which, as of Oct. 12, include:
- Chris Christie, former Governor of New Jersey
- Kellyanne Conway, former counselor to the president
- Jalen Drummond, assistant press secretary
- Chad Gilmartin, principal assistant press secretary
- Karoline Leavitt, assistant press secretary
- Nick Luna, Trump’s personal aide
- Ronna McDaniel, RNC chairwoman
- Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary
- Stephen Miller, White House aide
- Bill Stepien, campaign manager
- 2 of the president’s military aides
Republican Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) also were infected with COVID-19. Lee and Tillis tested positive for the virus days after attending the White House event for Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination where social distancing and mask procedures were completely ignored.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, and Greg Laurie, a California megachurch pastor, both tested positive after the same White House event.
The outbreak has quickly spread and infected nearly three dozen individuals connected in the White House.
Three members of the White House housekeeping staff as well as an assistant to the chief usher have tested positive, The New York Times reported. And four White House reporters also tested positive according to The White House Correspondents Association.
The outbreak likely spread to non-political employees and officials due to the White House’s blind over-dependence on testing and disregard for social distancing and face masks. Many individuals who attended Barrett’s nomination or came in contact with the president initially received a negative test but tested positive for the virus a few days later.
False negatives are common when rapid tests are used incorrectly as they did in the White House. The coronavirus can take a few days to appear in your system which is why public health groups like the FDA advise waiting five to seven days after exposure to take a test.
Instead, the White House had daily testing which produced false negatives and exacerbated the outbreak. Trump’s officials took the results for granted and used them to justify indoor events without masks. But a negative test result is not a substitute for social distancing and face masks.
“No test is 100% accurate, and for this reason someone who tests negative is not guaranteed to be free of infection. That means, even when people are regularly tested, it important to use multiple approaches to reduce the likelihood of transmission,” Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security told NPR. “Maintaining distance from others, wearing a mask and choosing to stay in well-ventilated spaces are all important safety measures that must also be used.”
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