Health specialists question Pence campaigning as essential work

Health policy specialists questioned White House officials’ claim that federal rules on essential workers allow Vice President Mike Pence to continue to campaign and not quarantine himself after being exposed to the coronavirus.

Campaigning is not an official duty that might fall under the guidelines meant to ensure that police, first responders, and key transportation and food workers can still perform jobs that cannot be done remotely, the health specialists said.

A Pence aide said Sunday that the vice president would continue to work and travel, including for campaigning, after his chief of staff and some other close contacts tested positive. Pence tested negative on Sunday and decided to keep traveling after consulting White House medical personnel, his aides said.

Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, was among those who tested positive. President Trump, said early Sunday that Short was quarantining.

That usually means isolating oneself for 14 days after exposure in case an infection is developing, to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Pence was holding a rally Sunday in North Carolina, events in Minnesota and Pennsylvania on Monday, and more events in North Carolina and South Carolina on Tuesday. The most recent numbers show COVID-19 cases are rising in 75 percent of the country.

On Sunday, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told reporters that Pence “is following all the rules” from federal health officials. He called Pence “an essential worker” and said, “essential workers going out and campaigning and voting are about as essential as things we can do as Americans.”

However, the guidelines on essential workers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are aimed at folks like police, first responders, and key transportation and food workers.

The Department of Homeland Security spells out 16 categories of critical infrastructure workers, including those at military bases, nuclear power sites, courthouses, and public works facilities like dams and water plants.

“I don’t see campaigning on the list,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice at Johns Hopkins University and former Maryland state Health Department chief. “Anything that does not have to be done in person and anything not related to his job as vice president would not be considered essential.”

Dr. Thomas Tsai, a health policy specialist at Harvard University, agreed.

Helping to maintain the function of the executive branch of government could be considered critical work, but “we’ve always historically separated campaigning from official duties,” he said.

Pence also serves as president of the Senate, a largely ceremonial role outlined in the Constitution but one that stands to come into focus Monday.

The Senate was expected to vote Monday evening to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Pence’s vote is unlikely to be needed to break a tie, but his presence was expected for the vote.

If Pence’s official work as vice president was considered essential, the CDC guidelines say he should be closely monitored for COVID-19 symptoms, stay at least 6 feet from others, and wear a mask “at all times

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Florida Cancer Specialists Oncologist Michael Diaz, MD Appointed to Florida Cancer Control & Research Advisory Council (CCRAB)

Council Advises State on Ways to Reduce the Burden of Cancer in Florida

Vice President & Assistant Managing Physician Michael Diaz, MD
Vice President & Assistant Managing Physician Michael Diaz, MD
Vice President & Assistant Managing Physician Michael Diaz, MD

Fort Myers, Fla., Oct. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Michael Diaz, MD, Assistant Managing Physician of Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS), has been appointed to a two-year term on the prestigious Florida Cancer Control & Research Advisory Council (CCRAB). Established in 1979 by the Florida Legislature, CCRAB is an advisory body that concentrates on the study of cancer and advises the Legislature, Governor and Surgeon General on ways to reduce Florida’s cancer burden. There are 15 members of the Council, each representing a specific group of stakeholders. Dr. Diaz will serve as the new Association of Community Cancer Centers appointee.

“I am truly honored by this appointment,” Dr. Diaz said. “The Council has a significant leadership role in statewide efforts to improve patient participation in research and to reduce cancer health disparities, two objectives I consider vitally important. I look forward to working with the Council to reduce Florida’s cancer burden and promote healthier lives and communities across the state.”

CCRAB’s top goals for 2020 – 2025 include increasing collaboration among cancer control stakeholders, ensuring collection of comprehensive and high-quality cancer-related date, reducing the incidence and mortality from tobacco-related cancers, eliminating cervical cancer by increasing vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), decreasing the incidence of skin cancer and increasing the use of genomic cancer risk assessments, including genetic counseling and appropriate genetic testing.

The Florida Cancer Control & Research Advisory Council traditionally meets twice a year and all meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be held virtually on Friday, October 23rd from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Additional meeting information will be posted online at CCRAB.org/events.

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About Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, LLC: (FLCancer.com)

Recognized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) with a national Clinical Trials Participation Award, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) offers patients access to more clinical trials than any private oncology practice in Florida. Over the past 5 years, the majority of new cancer drugs approved for use in the U.S. were studied in clinical trials with Florida Cancer Specialists participation.* Trained in such prestigious medical schools and research institutes as Duke, Stanford, Harvard, Emory, MD Anderson, and Memorial Sloan Kettering, our physicians are consistently ranked nationally as Top Doctors by U.S. News & World Report.

Florida Cancer Specialists has built a national reputation for excellence that is reflected in exceptional and compassionate patient care, driven by innovative clinical research, cutting-edge technologies, and advanced treatments, including targeted therapies, genomic-based treatment, and immunotherapy. Our values are embodied by our outstanding team of highly trained and dedicated physicians, clinicians, and staff.

*Prior to approval

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CONTACT: Shelly Glenn Florida Cancer Specialists (770) 365.6168 [email protected] Michelle Robey Florida Cancer Specialists (813) 767-9398 [email protected]

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