Three members of White House task force are self-isolating

White House task force members self-isolate
Dr Anthony Fauci is self-isolating. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: After possible exposure to the illness, three members of the White House coronavirus task force are self-isolating for two weeks.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and who has become the public face of the fight against the virus in the US, is one of those who will go into quarantine.

Dr Fauci’s agency said he was at “relatively low risk” due to the degree of his exposure and he was tested negative for the virus.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Mr Fauci will work from home for the time being and will be regularly tested.

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller, the wife of Trump aide Stephen Miller, tested positive for the virus on Friday, just a day before, another White House staff member was diagnosed with the virus.

The White House began daily testing for Mr Trump and Mr Pence, and has claimed to be taking “every single precaution to protect the president”.

Six members of Mr Pence’s team were abruptly taken off his plane, Air Force 2, after it was held on the tarmac outside Washington, DC for over an hour on Friday, as he prepared to travel to Iowa to meet religious leaders.

Trump told reporters during a meeting with Republicans at the White House: “She’s a wonderful young woman, Katie.”

The President said, Katie tested negative for a long period of time and then all of a sudden she tested positive on Friday.

When Mr Trump was asked about a possible outbreak at the White House, he said: “All you can do is take precautions and do the best you can.”

Who is self-isolating?

Dr Robert Redfield, director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Stephen Hahn are also self-isolating.

Dr Redfield, 68, said in a statement that he had no symptoms and was not feeling unwell, but would also be teleworking for two weeks after “low risk exposure” to someone at the White House. It is unclear who this person is.

Reuters reported quoting an FDA spokesman on Friday that 60-year-old Stephen Hahn was also self-isolating. He has also tested negative. The three men were due to address a Senate committee on Tuesday.

What is the situation in the US?

In the US, more that 77,000 people have died and 1.2m confirmed cases, far more than anywhere in the world. Many states introduced lockdown measures in March in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, but have now lifted restrictions, allowing people to return to work.

But health officials warn that easing lockdown may lead the virus to spread further.

Mr Trump’s approach to the pandemic has oscillated. He dismissed the threat in February, saying it would disappear, but by mid-March he acknowledged its severity.

In April he suggested an awkward idea that ingesting disinfectant could be a preventative – something experts immediately rejected and he had to face a lot of criticism.

Mr Trump announced last week that he would close down his government’s coronavirus task force, but later said it would continue – but focusing on reopening the economy.