Vice President’s Chief Of Staff Is Second Top Aide To Test Positive For COVID-19

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, has tested positive for COVID-19, Pence’s office announced Saturday. It’s at least the second close contact of the vice president to test positive in days.

Pence’s senior political adviser Marty Obst also tested positive earlier this week, CNN reported.

A source told The New York Times that three other Pence staff members have also tested positive. Yet Pence plans to continue his campaign schedule.

Short has begun quarantine and is “assisting in the contact tracing process,” according to Pence’s office.

Both the vice president and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the coronavirus Saturday and “remain in good health,” according to the vice president’s spokesman Devin O’Malley.

Despite the new COVID cases, the vice president intends to continue his campaign schedule. He plans to travel to North Carolina Sunday.

Even though Short is considered a close contact of Pence, “in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for essential personnel,” said Pence’s office. Those guidelines include careful monitoring for symptoms and wearing a mask when near people.

Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University, called Pence’s decision to continue to campaign “grossly negligent.” He “needs to be staying home 14 days,” she told The Associated Press. “Campaign events are not essential.”

Popescu called Pence’s refusal to change his schedule an “insult to everybody who has been working in public health and public health response.” She added: “I also find it really harmful and disrespectful to the people going to the rally” and those on Pence’s own staff who will travel with him.

The nation is currently experiencing a dangerous surge in coronavirus cases. America’s daily COVID-19 case count hit an all-time high of more than 83,000 on Friday.

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