At least three top advisers to Vice President Mike Pence have tested positive for the coronavirus in the last few days, people briefed on the matter said, raising fresh questions about the safety protocols at the White House, where masks are not routinely worn.
Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for Mr. Pence for who leads the White House coronavirus task force, said that the vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short, had tested positive. A person briefed on the diagnosis said it was received on Saturday.
“Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for Covid-19 today, and remain in good health,” Mr. O’Malley said. “While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the C.D.C. guidelines for essential personnel.”
The statement did not come from the White House medical unit, but instead from a press aide. Two people briefed on the matter said that the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had sought to keep news of the outbreak from becoming public.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Meadows did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
A Trump adviser briefed on the outbreak, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said that Pence adviser Marty Obst also tested positive in the last few days. Mr. Obst’s positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Another person briefed on the developments, who also was not allowed to speak publicly, said that at least one additional Pence staff member had tested positive. Mr. O’Malley did not immediately respond to a question about others who have tested positive.
Mr. Pence’s decision to continue campaigning, despite his proximity to his chief of staff, is certain to raise fresh questions about how seriously the White House is taking the risks to its staff members and to the public as the pandemic has killed nearly 225,000 people in the United States.
Mr. Trump, the first lady and several aides and advisers tested positive for the virus roughly three weeks ago. Mr. Trump spent three nights at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and he was treated with an experimental antibody cocktail as well as the powerful steroid dexamethasone.
Mr. Trump, at rallies over the past two days, has insisted the country is “rounding the turn” on the virus, even though the single-day increase reached 80,000. (NYTIME).