Mike Pence continues campaign tour despite chief of staff’s positive test

Mike Pence continues campaign tour despite chief of staff's positive test
Mr Pence is being tested regularly. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: Vice-President Mike Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite several members of his inner circle testing positive for coronavirus, the White House has said.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the VP disclosed that Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, had tested positive for the virus. Earlier in the day, Pence and his wife tested negative and the Mr. Pence will not alter his schedule, the spokesman said. The New York Times reported that in recent days, several other members of his inner circle had also tested positive.

Short’s diagnosis comes weeks after coronavirus spread through the White House, infecting President Donald Trump, the first lady Melania Trump and two dozen other aides, staffers and allies.

Under criteria from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mr Pence is considered a “close contact” of his chief of staff but will not quarantine, said spokesman Devin O’Malley.

O’Malley said Mike Pence decided to maintain his travel schedule “in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel” and “in consultation with the White House medical unit”. Those guidelines require that essential workers exposed to someone with the virus closely monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 and wear a mask whenever around other people.

Saskia Popescu, George Mason University’s infectious disease expert, described the Vice-President’s decision to travel “grossly negligent” regardless of the stated justification that Pence is an essential worker.

She said: “It’s just an insult to everybody who has been working in public health and public health response.”

“I also find it really harmful and disrespectful to the people going to the rally” and the people on his own staff who will accompany him.

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