White House’s Coronavirus Crackdown Means West Wingers will Wear Masks

The novel strain of coronavirus that has taken the world by storm knows no bounds, as evidenced by the latests news from Washington DC.

Despite the efforts of several states to reopen their economies in this new world of social distancing, COVID-19 is still a threat to much of the nation.  The issue does not lie in the illness’s overall mortality rate, but rather in its overtly wild contagiousness, and the fact that asymptomatic carriers can easily spread the infection to at-risk populations.

In the West Wing, where physical proximity is tight and contact with others is necessary, the virus has been spreading like wildfire, and it has forced the White House to take extraordinary measures. 

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ABC News’ Katherine Faulders and John Santucci have learned a new White House policy was distributed to West Wing staff Monday afternoon directing them to wear masks at all times while working in the West Wing, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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The guidance comes after two White House staffers tested positive for coronavirus last week.

And that’s not all…

On Capitol Hill, task force witnesses scheduled to testify before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday regarding the opening of the economy — including Drs. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Robert Redfield, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and coronavirus testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir — will instead appear by videoconference in the historic hearing.

Fauci, Hahn and Redfield are in some form of quarantine this week following contact with at least one White House staffer who tested positive. Even the committee’s chair, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will preside over the hearing from his home state “out of an abundance of caution,” after one of his staff members, too, tested positive for the contagious pathogen.

Of the staffers who tested positive, two were in high ranking positions with Vice President Mike Pence and First Daughter Ivanka Trump.

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