Members of the Secret Service, who protect the president, have also been thrown into the limelight with some members present and former anonymously complaining that they believe Trump put members of the service at risk when they accompanied him in a controversial stunt outside the Walter Reed Hospital.
An still contagious Trump returned to the White House on Monday and defiantly removed his mask upon entering the building as complaints grew inside of the lack of precautions taken by the president and his entourage.
Journalists exposed to staff members who tested positive, and even residents of apartment buildings where infected staff have gone to self-isolation, also complained about a lack of information.
Many staff say privately they only learned of positive tests from media reports and several were unwittingly exposed to people whom the White House already knew could be contagious . It wasn’t until Sunday night, nearly three full days after Trump’s diagnosis, that the White House executive office sent a note to all staff saying people with symptoms should ‘s’. please stay home and not come to work ”.
White House reports paint a picture of workers frightened by lack of information on when and how some officials were infected, many blaming White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for the information vacuum .
Others have pointed to the fact that Trump and his medical team have refused to disclose the date the president received his last negative test, making it difficult for many to know if they had contact with him at a time when he was potentially contagious.
Kate Andersen Brower, who wrote The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, said she recently spoke to three former employees who had worried about the health of current workers but were too afraid to speak publicly.
The White House now has two coronavirus patients treated on-site – the president and the first lady – in a group that some say includes more cases than all of New Zealand.
The center of concern has shifted to White House residence staff, many of whom have served for decades and are known for their discretion, after complaints emerged Sunday over Trump’s apparent indifference to health. members of the secret services who accompanied him on his journey. by thanking the supporters.
Several people who spoke with the Associated Press expressed concern about the White House’s cavalier attitude towards masks and distancing. Colleagues, they said, were angry, but felt there was little they could do.
One, after White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany tested positive on Monday, said he felt he and some of his colleagues were spared only one some luck.
Anxiety is also driven by the feeling among White House workers that efforts are limited to trace contacts of Trump and other infected staff as information is not shared on who tested positive .
The White House medical unit, which has around 30 employees, is headed by Trump’s staff physician Dr Sean Conley, who has drawn criticism for his vague and sometimes evasive public statements about the president’s health.
According to the New York Times, citing an unidentified official, the White House had decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff who were at the Rose Garden celebration 10 days ago for Trump’s candidate for election. Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, where at least eight people, including the president, may have been infected.
Instead, the source told the newspaper that efforts were limited to informing people who had come into close contact with Trump in the two days before his Covid diagnosis on Thursday evening.
“This is a total abdication of responsibility on the part of the Trump administration,” said Dr. Joshua Barocas, a public health expert at Boston University. “The idea that we are not involving the Centers for Disease Control to do contact tracing at this point appears to be a massive public health threat.”
While Trump would apparently work from the White House’s chart room, rather than the Oval Office, interacting only with personnel protective equipment personnel, the President’s long-standing refusal and many of his family and those around him to systematically wear masks and to respect the rules of distancing aroused skepticism about the arrangements.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said the administration was taking all necessary precautions to protect not only the First Family, but all staff working on the complex, in accordance with guidelines and best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Agencies contributed to this report