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“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Mark Meadows said, bluntly.
The former hard-right congressman from North Carolina made the revealing remark as confirmed cases of Covid-19 reached new peaks and hospitalisations rose rapidly in 38 states. The contagion also continues to ravage the White House itself, with the chief of staff to Mike Pence and four others in the vice-president’s inner circle having tested positive.
Meadows repeatedly sidestepped questions about the administration’s responsibility for combatting spread of the virus. Instead, in a contentious interview with CNN’s State of the Union, he highlighted what he called “mitigating” factors, including the search for a vaccine and new therapeutics that could bring down the death rate.
Even so, the number of deaths in the US is back up at about 1,000 a day.
Asked why the administration was not going to control the pandemic, Meadows replied: “Because it is a contagious virus.”
Turn on the television, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid. On 4 November you won’t hear about it anymore
Despite Pence being exposed to the disease, he planned to continue an aggressive campaign schedule in the final nine days of the race. Pence spoke at a rally in Kinston, North Carolina, on Sunday, where he did not address the positive cases in his entourage. He will be in Hibbing, Minnesota, on Monday before returning to events in North Carolina on Tuesday.
Such unbroken travel plans amounted to a breach of the recommendations of the Trump administration’s own public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They would require the vice-president to be in quarantine for 14 days and always to wear a mask around other people. Pence has frequently been seen maskless in public.
Such blatant disregard for the administration’s own health standards is doubly awkward given that Pence has led the White House coronavirus taskforce since late February. Dr Anthony Fauci, the most senior public health expert on the taskforce, said on Friday meetings had dwindled and Trump had not attended one in months.
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The White House said Pence was not required to follow the quarantine rule because he is deemed “essential personnel”. Asked why electioneering was classed “essential”, Meadows said the vice president continued to do his official work in between campaign stops.
Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University in Virginia, called Pence’s decision to travel “grossly negligent”.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said the Trump administration is “not going to control the pandemic,” and will instead “control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigations.”
Meadows made his comments during an interview on CNN, and when asked to elaborate on why the pandemic can’t be contained, he said, “because it is a contagious virus just like the flu. What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don’t die from this.”
On Friday and Saturday, the U.S. reported more than 83,000 new coronavirus cases, and as of Sunday, more than 224,000 Americans have died of the virus. Despite health officials warning against large gatherings and urging the use of masks to curb the spread of coronavirus, President Trump continues to hold big campaign rallies, with people standing next to each other and face coverings optional. Meadows defended the campaign events by saying, “We live in a free society.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden commented on Meadows’ remarks, saying this wasn’t “a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgment of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn’t, and it won’t.”
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The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said the U.S. won’t be able to contain COVID-19 as new cases continue to hit record highs.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.” When asked why the U.S. can’t attempt to curb the virus, Meadows said, “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”
Instead, Meadows said that “what we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don’t die from this.”
Tapper: “Why not make efforts to contain it?”
Meadows: “We are making efforts to contain it.”
Tapper: “By running all over the country not wearing a mask?”
Meadows: “What we need to do is make sure we have the proper mitigation factors… make sure people don’t die from this”
Meadows’ remarks fall in line with the Trump administration’s lack of a plan for containing the virus, like say, implementing national guidelines to control the infection rate. Over 224,000 Americans have died since the pandemic’s outset, with health officials encouraging the public to continue wearing masks, as they could save almost 130,000 lives in the coming months.
During his CNN interview, which was received online with a combination of shock and outrage, Meadows also defended the large campaign rallies that Trump has continued to host as the election nears, where masks and social distancing measures aren’t enforced. “We live in a free society,” Meadows said after Tapper pushed him on the rallies.
The U.S. reported 83,757 new confirmed cases on Friday, eclipsing the previous daily record of 77,300 in mid-July. On Saturday, the country reported an additional 83,718 cases. As CNBC points out, research suggests that the U.S. could see over 500,000 total deaths by the end of February if states don’t intensify pandemic limitations.
Meadow’s interview inspired a visceral action online and beyond, with Joe Biden slamming the Trump administration for its failure to safeguard the U.S. “Mark Meadows stunningly admitted this morning that the administration has given up on even trying to control this pandemic, that they’ve given up on their basic duty to protect the American people,” the former vice president said in a statement.
“This wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgement of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn’t, and it won’t.”
At least three top aides to Vice President Mike Pence have tested positive for the coronavirus in the last few days, people briefed on the matter said. The test results raise fresh questions about the safety protocols at the White House, where masks are not routinely worn.
The vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short, has tested positive, according to Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for Mr. Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force. A person briefed on Mr. Short’s diagnosis said it was received on Saturday.
“Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for Covid-19 today, and remain in good health,” Mr. O’Malley said. “While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the C.D.C. guidelines for essential personnel.”
The statement did not come from the White House medical unit, but instead from a press aide. Two people briefed on the matter said that the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had sought to keep news of the outbreak from becoming public.
On Sunday, in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. Meadows denied that he had tried to suppress news of the outbreak, saying he had acted out of concern about “sharing personal information.”
A Trump adviser briefed on the outbreak, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said that the Pence adviser Marty Obst also tested positive this week. Mr. Obst’s positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Another person briefed on the developments, who also was not allowed to speak publicly, said that three additional Pence staff members had tested positive. Mr. O’Malley did not immediately respond to a question about others who have tested positive.
Mr. Pence’s decision to continue campaigning, despite his proximity to his chief of staff, is certain to raise fresh questions about how seriously the White House is taking the risks to its staff members and to the public as the pandemic has killed nearly 225,000 people in the United States. The vice president’s office said that both Mr. and Mrs. Pence tested negative again on Sunday.
President Trump, the first lady and several aides and advisers tested positive for the virus roughly three weeks ago. Mr. Trump spent three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and he was treated with an experimental antibody cocktail as well as the powerful steroid dexamethasone.
Multiple senior aides to the vice president have recently tested positive for COVID-19
While a number of people in Mike Pence‘s inner circle recently tested positive for COVID-19, the vice president reportedly has no plans to cancel his scheduled campaign events with the General Election drawing within a week away.
Pence apparently does not plan to self-quarantine to be sure not to spread coronavirus under the guise of being an essential worker, should he have unknowingly contracted the virus from one of his staff members. He and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative on Saturday and Sunday, as reported by The New York Times.
According to spokesman Devin O’Malley, Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short tested positive for the disease on Saturday. In addition to Short, four other members of his staff have also contracted the virus that has caused a global pandemic. Marty Obst, one of Pence’s advisors, also tested positive earlier this week, a person familiar with the matter said.
“While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the C.D.C. guidelines for essential personnel,” O’Malley stated.
Pence, under his role as second in command to President Donald Trump, is in charge of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
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Despite these positive tests affecting people so near to him, Pence is choosing to continue traveling around the nation under his separate capacity as a vice presidential candidate and surrogate for the Trump reelection campaign, less than 10 days out from the Nov. 3 election. This comes weeks after Trump and First Lady Melania Trump contracted coronavirus earlier this month. The disease hospitalized the president for days.
Since the President’s diagnosis, it was reported that several other members of the Administration had contracted COVID-19. This includes former political advisor Kellyanne Conway, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, policy advisor Stephen Miller and campaign manager Bill Stepien.
Questions surrounding the safety protocols at the White House concerning coronavirus have been raised heavily since it penetrated to heavily weeks ago. President Trump has also returned to holding public campaign rallies, and the Washington Post reported that during the first presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, guests of Trump opted not to wear masks during the broadcast.
Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite an apparent outbreak of the coronavirus among his senior aides, the White House says. O’Malley said the vice president and his wife “remain in good health.”
READ MORE: Fauci advocates mask mandate amid COVID-19 surge across US
Trump commented on Short early Sunday after his plane landed at Joint Base Andrews, outside Washington.
“I did hear about it just now,” he said. “And I think he’s quarantining. Yeah. I did hear
WASHINGTON—Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short, a campaign adviser and at least three other staffers have tested positive for Covid-19, but with just days left until Election Day, President Trump’s running mate will continue to maintain his schedule.
Mr. Pence, the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, considers himself to be a close contact of Mr. Short, who tested positive on Saturday, according to a statement from Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley.
Marty Obst, Mr. Pence’s longtime political adviser, also recently tested positive, according to people familiar with the matter, and at least three additional staff in the vice president’s office have also tested positive, one person familiar with the matter said.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Sunday morning that multiple staffers close to Mr. Pence had tested positive but didn’t identify others beyond Mr. Short by name.
“Marc Short and a couple of key staff around the vice president have come down with the coronavirus,” Mr. Meadows said on CNN. “We certainly wish them the very best.”
The vice president, who tested negative on Saturday along with his wife, has decided not to quarantine, Mr. O’Malley said. Mr. Pence consulted with White House medical staff, and will instead follow guidelines for “essential personnel.” Mr. Pence’s office declined additional comment.
Coronavirus in the White House
According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the close contact of a person infected with Covid-19 should quarantine “even if you test negative” because symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Mr. Pence is scheduled to campaign in North Carolina on Sunday and in Minnesota on Monday. Mr. Meadows said that the vice president would take extra precautions as he maintains his schedule, including wearing a mask and social distancing.
“Obviously when you have an exposure, you have to take additional mitigation factors to do that,” he said.
The announcement of the positive tests comes three weeks after President Trump and multiple members of his staff tested positive for coronavirus. Mr. Trump’s infection required a three-night stay in the hospital. He returned to the campaign trail 11 days after his initial positive test.
Katie Miller, Mr. Pence’s press secretary, tested positive for the virus in May. She has since returned to work.
The U.S. added nearly 84,000 coronavirus cases Saturday for the second-straight day. Saturday’s total of 83,718 new cases marked the second-highest single-day count after the record 83,757 infections logged Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has reported nearly 8.58 million infections in total, with the death toll nearing 225,000.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper grilled White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday, hours after it was revealed that top aides to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for the coronavirus, a development that under CDC guidelines would call for Pence, who has been in close contact with them, to go into quarantine. But Pence is continuing to hit the campaign trail.
In a heated interview on “State of the Union,” Meadows insisted that Pence was “essential personnel” and therefore exempt from the guidelines. Pence hosts a Sunday campaign rally in North Carolina and on Monday is hosting one in Minnesota.
“CDC guidelines say that Vice President Pence should quarantine for 14 days,” Tapper said.
“He’s not just campaigning,” Meadows insisted. “He’s working.”
At least four aides to Pence, including his chief of staff, Marc Short, have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days. According to the New York Times, which cited anonymous sources, Meadows had sought to keep the White House from disclosing the latest outbreak. The news was released late Saturday night. On CNN, Meadows said he was concerned about the privacy of the infected staffers.
The revelation marks the second round of infections within the White House’s top ranks after many senior officials, including President Trump, who was hospitalized and given treatment for someone with severe symptoms, tested positive earlier this month.
According to the latest tracking data from Johns Hopkins University, about 225,000 Americans have died so far from the virus. But Trump has repeatedly downplayed the danger from the virus ahead of the Nov. 3 election, insisting that the nation has “turned a corner” in the fight.
Friday saw the highest number of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. since the outbreak began, which Trump, as he has for months, dismissed as an artifact of increased testing. But the percentage of positive tests has been increasing, along with hospitalizations.
Trump has held mass rallies in some of the hardest-hit states, including Wisconsin, where he campaigned Saturday night in Waukesha, and has continued to attack local governments for maintaining lockdown efforts.
Mark Meadows: “We’re not going to control the pandemic, we are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.”
Jake Tapper: “Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?”
(Reuters) – A new coronavirus outbreak at the White House involving Vice President Mike Pence’s staff comes as the United States reported a near-record number of new cases on Saturday.
The United States reported 79,852 new infections on Saturday, close to the previous day’s record of 84,244 new cases. Hospitalizations are also rising and have hit a two-month high and deaths are also trending upwards, according to a Reuters tally. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
Late on Saturday a spokesman for Pence said Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Pence and his wife tested negative earlier in the day and the vice president will not alter his schedule as he campaigns ahead of the Nov. 3 election, the spokesman said.
Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, told CNN on Sunday that Pence was an essential worker and did not need to quarantine as recommended by guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of Pence’s aides also tested positive, Meadows said.
The latest outbreak follows what health experts described as a super-spreader event at the White House on Sept. 26 where President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
So far in October, 29 states have set records for increases in new cases, including five states considered key in the presidential election: Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Hospitals are strained in several states including North Dakota, which is the hardest hit based on recent new cases per capita, according to a Reuters analysis.
(Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, Pence’s office announced.
Pence and his wife Karen both tested negative for the coronavirus on Saturday and “remain in good health,” Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley in a statement Saturday, and Short “began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process” the same day.
Three more of the vice president’s staff members along with an adviser to Pence have also reportedly tested positive for the virus.
“While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel,” O’Malley said.
Pence is currently on the campaign trail and held rallies in Lakeland and Tallahassee in Florida on Saturday. Less than two weeks out from the presidential election, he plans to travel to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota soon as well.
Aides who were found to have had close contact with Short were reportedly taken off Pence’s trip before it began.
Short’s positive coronavirus diagnosis, the latest among many senior White House officials who have contracted the virus in recent weeks, comes nearly two weeks after President Trump tested negative for the virus after being hospitalized for several days with the virus earlier this month.
The CDC has recommended that essential workers who have had close contact with an individual who tested positive for the virus wear a mask for 14 days “at all times while in the workplace.”
More than 224,000 people have died after being infected with the coronavirus in the U.S., and more than 8 million people have contracted the virus.