White House officials said on Tuesday that in spite of an image of daily testing, President Donald Trump had not been tested everyday for COVID-19 before he announced his diagnosis with the virus last week, according to The New York Times.
A senior administration official would only confirm to the Times on Tuesday that Trump was tested “regularly.”
The revelation, confirmed to the Times by two people familiar with the protocol, provides new insight into a crumbling image of the White House which has routinely flouted the guidance of health experts on mask-wearing until it was rocked by a positive diagnosis for President Trump and one of his senior aides back-to-back appeared to signal what has become a domino effect of new cases.
Republican leaders in close proximity with the President at a Rose Garden event celebrating the nomination of conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court 11 days ago have since come forward to announce that they had tested positive for coronavirus.
Many White House offices, in addition to the Capitol, have since been emptied as officials, including many Chiefs of Staff quarantine amid possible exposure.
After the White House became a hotspot for the virus, a memo entitled “Precautions and POTUS Interactions” was circulated to White House staffers this week with instructions on how to properly protect themselves in interactions with the President.
According to the memo from the White House Management Office reviewed by the Times, the Oval Office and the residence where the first family lives, are off-limits unless a staff member is specifically requested to go and expected to be there.
The many layers of protective equipment required in close interactions with Trump, shows just how the President’s reckless urgency to return to the White House amid his infection has put at risk the health of many White House staffers who work within its walls and by extension their families.
Per the memo, if staff members keep a distance of more than six feet away from President Trump only a “surgical mask” and hand sanitizer are required, but within six feet, sanitizer and additional PPE provided and required, including, “Yellow gown,” “Surgical mask,” “Protective eye wear” and “Gloves.”
It remains unclear how the President will protect others as he continues to battle his infection. On Monday, he was criticized for what’s been dubbed by critics as a joyride that endangered the health of Secret Service agents when the still sick President got into a car with at least two agents to wave to supporters.