At least 11 people at the White House have COVID — but Trump doesn't care

522

Donald Trump is leaving the hospital for the White House, despite still being infected with the coronavirus.

Donald Trump on Monday announced he's leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to return to the White House despite still being infected with the coronavirus, a move that puts the hundreds of staffers who work in the building at risk of contracting it.

It's unclear what measures Trump will take to ensure the people who work in the building will not catch the virus.

Trump's White House physician, Sean Conley, refused to say what the protocol will be to protect others in the building or when Trump's last negative coronavirus test was, information that could help determine how contagious Trump still may be.

The New York Times' Maggie Haberman tweeted that the plan is for Trump not to go to the West Wing  — which includes the Oval Office — but she said it's "unclear for how long (or if it will be strictly enforced)."

So far, 11 people who work in the White House have tested positive for the virus, according to a count by the American Independent Foundation, and the White House admits that more could test positive in the coming days.

In addition to Trump and his wife Melania, those who have so far tested positive include White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, two press aides, Trump's personal assistant, two members of the housekeeping staff, three reporters who work in the building.

A number of other people who have attended events at the White House, or who have come in contact with Trump in recent days, have also tested positive for the virus, including

  • Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Trump senior aide Kellyanne Conway, who all helped him prepare for last week's presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
  • GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who attended an event in the Rose Garden at which Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
  • University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins and Pastor Greg Laurie, who were also both at the Barrett event at the White House.

Medical experts say having Trump move back to the White House when he's still infected with the virus and, as Conley said Monday, "not entirely out of the woods", is reckless.

"I don't think this is a medical decision," Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, said Monday. "Is everyone in the White House going to be wearing personal protective equipment now?"

Ultimately, Trump's coronavirus diagnosis could damage his reelection chances even more than they've already been damaged.

An ABC News poll conducted Friday and Saturday and released Sunday found 72% of adults polled think Trump did not take the "risk of contracting the virus seriously enough," with another 72% saying Trump did not take "the appropriate precautions when it came to his personal health."

Trump backed up those voters' beliefs on Monday when he tweeted, "Don't be afraid of Covid" about a virus that has to date killed nearly 210,000 people in the United States.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.