Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary confirmed on Friday that coronavirus has reached the White House.
“This evening we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the Coronavirus,” Katie Miller announced. The office declined to name the individual that tested positive.
Despite being a member of Pence’s team, Miller said that “neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual. Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines.”
Both Pence and Trump have had close calls with individuals that later tested positive for the virus.
Trump underwent testing for the virus last week after being directly exposed to Brazilian officials that were later found to have the virus.
Pence declined to be tested after attending the same meeting, and said on Monday that he’s “in regular consultation with the White House physician and he said I’ve not been exposed to anyone for any period of time who has the coronavirus.”
White House response
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, reported later on Saturday that the recently diagnosed staffer is currently “doing well.”
“I’ve talked to him last night several times. He basically had a couple days of cold-like symptoms, he tested positive Thursday night. He was not in the office Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.”
Short reiterated that Pence has not had contact with the staffer in question, and said that “We’ve had the normal contact tracing, led by the White House physician’s office, to go through who he may have been in contact with previously and some staff will take necessary precautions.”
This news comes as the wave of coronavirus patients continues to grow. According to the latest CDC data, the total of US cases has reached 15,219 and 201 deaths. Many of the cases are concentrated in New York City and the West Coast.
According to the New York Post, coronavirus is killing more than one person an hour in NYC. “Between just 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., 14 people in New York City died from the virus, pushing the Big Apple’s total death toll to 43,” the Post reported.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, said on Saturday that it’s difficult to predict when the virus will peak and subside in the States, but said that “there’s no question when you look at the various models, it is going to be a few weeks.”