After weeks of successfully warding off COVID-19 within the White House, Trump’s inner circle has experienced a dizzying flood of new coronavirus cases and exposures over the weekend.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert and a key player on the White House coronavirus task force, was placed in “modified quarantine” on Saturday after a reported COVID-19 exposure.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of which Fauci is the director, he is at “relatively low risk” due to the nature of the exposure. The institute also revealed that he has tested negative for the virus.
Fauci will reportedly be “taking appropriate precautions” and working from home when possible, but will still travel to the White House if called upon.
Two other high-powered coronavirus task force members will also enter quarantine this week. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, and FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn are voluntarily isolating after both coming in contact with someone that was later diagnosed with COVID-19. Both have also tested negative as of Friday.
Several White House staffers also tested positive for the virus last week, including Vice President Mike Pence’s communications director, Katie Miller, and one of Donald Trump’s personal valets.
According to White House officials, those that come in close contact with President Trump are regularly tested for the virus. Additionally, anyone that enters the White House complex undergoes temperature screenings before being allowed entrance.
For his part, President Trump said he is “not worried” about the potential for the virus to spread throughout the White House. Breitbart reported that regardless of Trump’s optimism, officials are stepping up safety protocols within the White House in order to control the spread.
After several close calls with potential virus exposures in late March, the White House has been relatively virus-free, but as the US pivots towards reopening, these new cases serve as a stark reminder that the threat has not yet been neutralized.