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Contact tracing for White House outbreak came too late, experts say

  • President Donald Trump and at least 34 White House staffers and contacts have been infected with the coronavirus following Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony at the White House Rose Garden on September 26.
  • The White House accepted the CDC’s offer to help with contact tracing on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.
  • Epidemiologists say those efforts may have come too late: People should be tested within two weeks of getting exposed.
  • The outbreak has likely “spread beyond the White House at this point,” one expert said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Recent visitors to the White House received a letter from health officials on Thursday. It came with a warning: If they had worked in the White House in the past two weeks, attended the recent Supreme Court announcement ceremony, or had close contact with people who fit that description, they should get tested for the coronavirus. Ideally,

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D.C. reports increased demand for coronavirus tests amid White House outbreak

A testing site outside the White House on Friday urged anyone who had worked or visited to get tested. That site conducted only 80 tests, far below the hundreds processed at other locations, said Susana Castillo, a Bowser spokeswoman.

The city will not operate a testing site near the White House this week.

The increase in testing demand comes as D.C. is seeing a rise in infections this month. The city was reporting a rolling seven-day average of 5.3 cases per 100,000 residents on Oct. 1 — a number that had risen to 9.5 as of Saturday.

City officials offered no explanation for the increasing caseload, and it’s unclear whether the rise is connected to the White House outbreak. Only D.C. residents appear in the city’s count, and many federal officials declare residency elsewhere.

The rise in testing might also be catching more coronavirus cases. The rate of people testing

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Fauci calls White House outbreak a coronavirus superspreader event

More than 150 people gathered in the White House’s Rose Garden on September 26 to see President Donald Trump officially nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Most of them were maskless. Many hugged or shook hands as they mingled in close proximity.

Some attendees even celebrated inside the White House, without masks.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the nomination ceremony was a coronavirus superspreader event. The term refers to a circumstance in which one person infects a disproportionately large number of others, often during a large gathering.

“The data speak for themselves,” Fauci told CBS News in a radio interview on Friday.

Within five days of the event, both the president and the first lady, Melania Trump, were diagnosed with COVID-19. The outbreak has hit at least 34 people

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White House Outbreak May Have Spread Coronavirus To Other Communities : Shots

Numerous people have tested positive after attending an event in the Rose Garden at the White House on Sept. 26 to announce the nomination of Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Numerous people have tested positive after attending an event in the Rose Garden at the White House on Sept. 26 to announce the nomination of Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House’s apparent failures to thoroughly contact trace its current coronavirus outbreak has led local health officers to take matters into their own hands.

The District of Columbia and nine neighboring jurisdictions are calling on White House staff and visitors who might be connected to the recent outbreak there to contact their local health departments.

“We recommend that if you have worked

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D.C.-area health departments fault contact-tracing efforts amid White House coronavirus outbreak

ASSOCIATED PRESS



a group of people in a park: President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a Sept. 26 ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington.


© Associated Press
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a Sept. 26 ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary step, the Washington, D.C., Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden to seek medical advice and take a COVID-19 test.

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The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact-tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two U.S. senators, among others.

News Pulse: White House is not tracing contacts of guests and staff at Rose Garden event 10 days ago: New York Times

Coronavirus

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White House correspondents advised to avoid grounds amid coronavirus outbreak

White House reporters were encouraged to avoid going near the executive residence Wednesday in light of President Trump and multiple members of his administration testing positive for COVID-19.

The White House Correspondents Association, an organization comprised of journalists covering the president, warned its members against working in or around his residence because of the outbreak.

In a statement, the WHCA’s executive board said they “strongly encourage all journalists to avoid working from the White House grounds entirely if it can be avoided.”

The WHCA board also said any journalists who have been at the White House since Sept. 26 should be tested for COVID-19, the contagious respiratory disease caused by the incurable novel coronavirus.

Mr. Trump and several allies and administration officials have recently tested positive for COVID-19, as well as three White House reporters and multiple staffers in the White House press office.

It “would be foolish of us

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Pentagon scrambles to retrace steps after White House COVID-19 outbreak

The Pentagon is retracing the steps of its top brass after a positive coronavirus case among senior officials forced Defense Department heads into quarantine.



Pentagon scrambles to retrace steps after White House COVID-19 outbreak


© Greg Nash
Pentagon scrambles to retrace steps after White House COVID-19 outbreak

News of Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray testing positive, which came after he attended a Sept. 27 White House event, broke after Ray had met with several other senior leaders at the Pentagon last week.

The Defense Department has since raced to conduct contact tracing, highlighting the stark difference between the Pentagon and White House, where administration officials have been reluctant to reveal key timeline details after President Trump and top aides tested positive.

“Simply because it is such a threat to readiness and can disable a ship, a building, a base, they take this very seriously,” Steve Morrison, a public health expert with the Center for Strategic and International

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Trump returned to the Oval Office even as the White House outbreak grew.

President Trump returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday, even as a full picture of his health remained unclear and many of his aides were in quarantine amid a West Wing outbreak that continues to grow.

White House officials said he went in for an update on the stimulus talks that he had called off Tuesday. And two people close to the White House said that advisers were exploring the possibility of resuming travel events for the president next week.

Despite the president’s insistence on returning to seeming normalcy, experts on the virus say he is entering a pivotal phase in the disease — seven to 10 days after the onset of symptoms — when some patients take a turn for the worse.

Underscoring the potential dangers, a White House memo instructed staff members to follow new safety protocols, among them some that Mr. Trump has previously dismissed. They include

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Despite White House outbreak, Trump and some aides return to work, flouting CDC guidance

But midafternoon — less than a week after testing positive for the potentially lethal virus — Trump returned to work in the West Wing, potentially endangering any staffers still in the building.

Trump’s presence there sent yet another message to the public that illness has not chastened a president who has consistently eschewed masks and social distancing. His rush to get back to business as usual just two days after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has been the most prominent example of the continued defiance of public health guidelines at the White House. But it isn’t the only one.

Though aides who have tested positive, including counselor Hope Hicks and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, have stayed home, aides who have continued to test negative have remained on the job. Among them were Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Jared Kushner, social media director Dan Scavino and political

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Congress remains vulnerable to Covid despite White House outbreak

WASHINGTON — The White House coronavirus outbreak, which has infected nearly 20 people in President Donald Trump’s circle, sheds new light on the lack of contact tracing and safety protocols in place for the House and Senate.



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© Provided by NBC News


And while those working around President Donald Trump are tested daily, the Capitol has no such protocols.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ignored multiple questions from reporters this week when asked if widespread testing should be offered in the Capitol. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday on MSNBC “Most of the people in our world who have come into contact and have been tested positive did not get the virus at the Capitol. It was in other encounters, including at the White House.”

Since the offer of rapid testing machines was initially made by the White House in May, Pelosi and McConnell have remained in agreement on one thing:

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