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Trump Campaign Aide’s Dubious Claim on Protecting the President

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A senior adviser to President Donald Trump’s marketing campaign made the doubtful declare that Trump was “probably the most protected person on Earth,” as a result of his guests “must submit to a COVID test” and “people don’t physically get close” to him.

But consultants say the White House testing technique was inadequate to guard the president, and White House pictures present a maskless Trump in shut contact with others.

Epidemiologists warn that whereas rigorous testing procedures can assist determine circumstances and scale back the danger of an outbreak, they don’t be certain that somebody is not going to get contaminated. Particularly within the early days after an an infection, checks could present a destructive outcome even when somebody is infectious. And no check is 100% correct. Other mitigation protocols, equivalent to sporting face masks and social distancing, are nonetheless wanted.

Also, pictures posted in current weeks on the official White House Flickr account present Trump in shut contact with quite a few folks, usually with neither the president nor others sporting masks.

Trump revealed within the early morning hours of Oct. 2 that he had examined optimistic for the coronavirus. After experiencing fever and being given supplemental oxygen remedy, Trump spent three days getting remedy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier than being discharged to the White House on Oct. 5.

On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace requested senior marketing campaign adviser Steve Cortes a few lack of social distancing on the White House. Wallace confirmed Cortes a photograph of the Sept. 26 Rose Garden occasion formally asserting the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, with seven folks circled who’ve since examined optimistic for COVID-19.

“Question, Steve, people packed together, the vast majority not wearing masks, how does that make sense?” Wallace requested.

Cortes, Oct. 4: Tremendous precautions are taken to guard the president, as you properly know. Anybody who goes to see the president should undergo a COVID check first and in addition there may be important distancing. People don’t bodily get near the president, no less than individuals who don’t should.

Of course his relations, among the safety element, that’s a unique story, however I feel given these precautions and given that he’s in all probability essentially the most protected particular person on Earth, the truth that he nonetheless acquired contaminated reveals us that sadly this virus has that sort of energy, that sort of communicable means. And the president although, and he’s made this clear, he was unwilling to fully sequester himself to take no threat as a result of leaders take dangers and he’s the servant of the folks in addition to the commander-in-chief so he mentioned he should be across the folks he serves.

But the proof reveals there have been flaws in what Cortes referred to as the “tremendous precautions” taken to guard the president.

Testing Strategy Insufficient

On April 3, the White House introduced that anybody in “close proximity” to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence can be examined.

But as Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina defined in an Oct. 2 press name (beginning across the 13:45 mark), whereas testing will be efficient in stopping the onward unfold from somebody who has examined optimistic, “Testing will never stop somebody from getting the virus. To stop yourself from getting the virus, you need to not come in contact with the virus or you need to protect yourself through wearing a mask if you are in contact with the virus. And obviously I would say the president hasn’t been particularly good at doing that.”

As we’ve written earlier than, there are inherent limitations in diagnostic checks. Even if somebody checks destructive, that doesn’t essentially imply that an individual isn’t contaminated — solely that the check didn’t detect the presence of the virus at that particular time.

Given that it might take just a few days and even longer for the virus to change into detectable, a destructive outcome means somebody nonetheless could possibly be infectious and different public health measures ought to nonetheless be taken.

The White House was reportedly utilizing Abbot’s ID NOW check as a speedy check for screening workers. The check is a molecular check that seems to be for the viral genome in a nasal swab pattern, however is quicker and fewer delicate than the usual PCR checks.

Mina mentioned that the check was excellent — maybe the perfect speedy check out there. But no check is ideal, and the check is just not truly designed for use the best way the White House deployed it.

The FDA’s emergency use authorization was revised in mid-September to specify that testing is meant to be “from individuals who are suspected of COVID-19 by their health care provider within the first seven days of the onset of symptoms.” In different phrases, the check is supposed for individuals who have signs, not for surveillance.

“If you told me that somebody who was only testing, not wearing their mask, not distancing, and not taking every other precautionary measure tested positive,” Saskia Popescu, a University of Arizona epidemiology professor and biodefense knowledgeable, informed STAT News, “I would say: ‘no shit, Sherlock.’”

Trump Not Socially Distancing in Photos

Although Cortes claimed there may be “significant distancing” and that, “People don’t physically get close to the president,” quite a few pictures posted on the official White House Flickr account during the last a number of weeks present that Trump was recurrently in shut contact with folks, usually whereas neither the president nor others wore masks.

Here is Trump with Barrett and her household within the Oval Office on Sept. 26. Nobody is sporting masks:

Here is Trump the following day at an East Room reception for Gold Star households on Sept. 27. No one seated within the viewers on the indoor reception is sporting masks:

Here is Trump standing a few ft away from Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns at an occasion on the South Lawn on Sept. 28, elbow to elbow inspecting a pickup truck:

The president right here is signing a hat for a supporter in a wheelchair on the Duke Energy Hangar in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 24. The supporters are sporting masks; Trump is just not:

Trump is seated with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on one facet and Vice President Pence on the opposite on Aug. 20 in a bilateral assembly with the prime minister of Iraq:

Here, Trump speaks with White House workers and visitors on the South Portico of the White House on Sept. 24, previous to boarding Marine One:

On Sept. 23, Trump meets within the Cabinet Room of the White House with states attorneys basic on defending customers from social media abuse:

Trump speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu throughout a bilateral assembly on Sept. 15 within the Oval Office:

Trump indicators the Abraham Accords on Sept. 15 with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. U.S. Chief of Protocol Cam Henderson assists Trump:

Even after studying that Hope Hicks, a senior adviser to Trump, had examined optimistic for COVID-19, Trump went to a fundraising occasion at his golf membership in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“Hope Hicks, we discovered (her positive test) as Marine One was taking off yesterday [for Bedminster],” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows mentioned on Oct. 2. “We pulled some of the people traveling in close contact.”

Trump acknowledged that Hicks is somebody he and the primary woman “spend a lot of time with,” and in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tips, individuals who come into contact with somebody sick with COVID-19 ought to quarantine for 14 days, “even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy.”

“It was deemed safe for the president to go,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany mentioned. “He socially distanced, it was an outdoor event and it was deemed safe by White House operations.”

That’s not solely correct. While the fundraising occasion attended by about 100 large-dollar donors was held open air, and a number of other attendees informed ABC News the president socially distanced and everybody wore masks, there was additionally a marketing campaign “roundtable” held in an enclosed tent. According to one attendee, the roundtable occasion was attended by about 19 folks, none sporting masks, although the president sat at a desk about 10 ft away from anybody else.

However, the newest info from the CDC dispels the concept that persons are essentially secure in the event that they hold a 6-foot distance, significantly if they’re indoors.

“Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours,” the CDC states. “These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space.”

The CDC says that whereas it’s rather more widespread for the virus to unfold by means of shut contact, it might additionally unfold by means of airborne transmission.

“There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away,” the CDC states.

According to the Wall Street Journal, after his return from New Jersey, Trump took a speedy COVID-19 check, and examined optimistic. But he didn’t disclose that in a subsequent cellphone interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, saying solely that he “just went out for a test” — a extra thorough screening than a speedy check — and had not but gotten again outcomes.

Trump mentioned he was examined as a result of, “I spend a lot of time with Hope, and so does the first lady.”

And he mentioned how tough it may be to social distance.

“You know, it’s very hard,” Trump mentioned. “When you’re with soldiers, when you’re with airmen, when you’re with Marines, and I’m with — and the police officers. I’m with them so much. And when they come over here, it’s very hard to say, stay back, stay back. It’s a tough kind of a situation. It’s a terrible thing. So, I just went for a test, and we will see what happens. I mean, who knows?”

In an interview on the Fox Business Network on Oct. 5, Trump coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, acknowledged that Trump has not all the time adopted the social distancing tips.

“He wants to talk to people,” Atlas mentioned. “He needs to be with people. He can’t afford to be … he uses mitigations — hand washing, social distancing, masks when necessary. But the reality is, he’s not going to be able to social distance from the American people all the time. He can’t always do that. And so, we do our best to protect him. Everybody does their best at protecting the White House’s special environment.”

Upon his return to the White House from the hospital, Trump walked to the balcony above the South Lawn, eliminated his masks, put it in his pocket and posed for photographers for 2 minutes.

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