The coronavirus infection has struck the White House, sparking fears for the health of the US President Donald Trump. A staff member of Vice President Mike Pence’s office tested positive on Friday, becoming the first-known case of a White House employee. There are growing fears the coronavirus infection could wreak havoc on the US political system, as the number of self-quarantined politicians surge.
Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for the Vice President, said: “This evening we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the Coronavirus.
“Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual.
“Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines.”
Mike Pence has become the Trump administration’s lead coordinator on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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However, he admitted earlier this week that he had not been tested for the virus.
It is not thought that there has been any forced self-isolation due to the latest coronavirus case in the White House.
Last week, President Trump tested negative for the virus after coming into contact at his Florida resort with Brazilian officials who later tested positive for the disease.
Several members of the White House staff who interacted with the Brazilian delegation have worked from home as a precaution, but none of them are known to have contracted the virus.
Recent cases in Washington have added to fears of community spread of coronavirus among politicians.
On Wednesday, two members of Congress, Democratic Ben McAdams of Utah and Republican Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, announced that they had tested positive for the virus.
At least 29 members of Congress have self-quarantined including Republican Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Trump’s incoming White House chief of staff.
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On Friday, Donald Trump savaged a reporter on live television who challenged him for raising hopes about a coronavirus treatment.
Peter Alexander, White House correspondent at NBC News, asked the US president: “What do you say to Americans, who are watching you right now, who are scared?”
In response, President Trump unleashed a tirade: “I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say.
“I think it’s a very nasty question and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.”
Hospitals in the US are understood to be increasingly concerned about shortages of crucial medical equipment, including protective gear and ventilators.
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