President Donald Trump’s White House appears to have another COVID-19 outbreak on its hands. Last month, Trump himself was part of a cluster of coronavirus cases including White House staffers and Republican lawmakers. Then, later in October, several members of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff tested positive. Now, people who attended a White House event on election night have tested positive, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Ben Carson, CNN reported.
The latest developments come as apparent president-elect Joe Biden’s presidential transition team announced a list of experts who would be on his administration’s COVID-19 task force. Meanwhile, President Trump celebrated that the stock market was “UP BIG” thanks to the “GREAT NEWS” that a Pfizer vaccine trial has been demonstrated as at least 90% effective. And nationally, the U.S. is setting records for new daily cases of the disease as the death toll continues to climb.
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Like the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court event before it, the White House’s election night party has become a focus of documenting the latest outbreak, with the Associated Press reporting that while all attendees were tested prior to attending, there was “minimal” mask usage and no social distancing at the event. Here’s what we know about the people who have had positive tests reported publicly.
Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff
Bloomberg News first reported on November 6 that Meadows had tested positive on Wednesday, November 4, according to a senior administration official. According to what several sources told Bloomberg, a select circle was aware of Meadows’s positive test but told not to discuss it; it wasn’t until Bloomberg’s report that much of Trump’s staff knew the man tasked with running White House business had tested positive.
According to Bloomberg, Meadows was not seen wearing a mask Tuesday, a day before his positive test, during a visit to the crowded Trump campaign headquarters or to an election night party at the White House. Two sources said Meadows returned to the campaign headquarters on Wednesday, again without a mask.
According to the AP, Meadows has been especially insistent on not wearing a mask and also traveled with Trump in the days ahead of Election Day, as CNN also reported. An epidemiologist told the AP that if Meadows tested positive Wednesday he could’ve been infectious at the election night party and during the visit to campaign headquarters earlier in the day.
Nick Trainer, Trump campaign strategist
Little else is known about additional positive tests in the White House. CBS News confirmed Saturday that there were four more positive cases among unnamed White House staffers. CNN cited sources who said one of the tests was for someone who served as a deputy to Meadows.
Ben Carson, HUD Secretary
Carson’s chief of staff told ABC News that the Secretary had tested positive on Monday, November 9. According to ABC News, Carson was tested at Walter Reed Medical Center — where the president had been hospitalized for COVID-19 in October — after he began experiencing symptoms. He is no longer at Walter Reed.