Vice President Mike Pence will continue to go around the country and follow his campaign schedule despite a coronavirus outbreak among his aides, according to the statement released by the White House.
Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff, and other key staff surrounding the vice president have tested positive for COVID-19, according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on his interview with CNN on October 25.
Pence to stick with his schedule
The vice president and his wife Karen Pence tested negative on October 25, according to his office. However, under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, both the vice president and his wife are considered a "close contact" and may be a vessel in spreading the virus, yet the two refused to go on quarantine.
Devin O' Malley said that Vice President Pence decided to maintain his travel schedule but will consult with the White House Medical Unit regarding the extra precautions they need to take while travelling and they will make sure everything is in accordance with the CDC guidelines.
The guidelines require that all essential workers that are exposed to someone with COVID-19 is closely monitored for symptoms of the virus and they should wear a mask whenever they are around other people. O'Malley said that the couple tested negative on October 24 and they remain in good health.
President Donald Trump talked about the vice president on Sunday after his plane landed at Joint Base Andrews, outside Washington. He said he heard about the COVID-19 outbreak among the aides of the vice president, and he believes he will be fine.
An infectious disease expert at George Mason University, Saskia Popescu, called Pence's decision to travel as grossly negligent, regardless of the stated justification that the vice president is an essential worker, according to US News.
Popescu said that Pence travelling despite the outbreak among his circle is an insult to everyone who has been working in public health and public health response. She added that the move will bring danger to the people who will attend his rally. She urged Pence to stay at home for 14 days.
On October 24, Vice President Mike Pence was seen wearing a mask after a day of campaigning. He returned to Washington through Air Force Two after the new of Short's COVID-19 diagnosis was made public.
Pence was scheduled to hold a campaign rally on October 25 in Kinston, North Carolina, with travel planned to Minnesota on October 26 and North Carolina again on October 27, according to ABC.
Pence's track record
Vice President Mike Pence was assigned by President Donald Trump to be the head of the White House coronavirus task force that was formed on February.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 220,000 Americans, leaving millions infected. Pence has advocated social distancing and mask-wearing in public, yet is rarely seen with a mask on and consistently holds massive political events with no room for social distancing.
Due to his position, the vice president is considered as an essential worker although the White House did not address how his political activities counted as essential work.
Short's diagnosis comes weeks after the COVID-19 spread through the White House, infecting President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, their son Barron Trump and their allies, aides and staffers.
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