Trump, who visited children in hospital every year during his tenure as first lady, continued the tradition despite the coronavirus pandemic and record cases in Washington, DC.
The first lady arrived in the main atrium of the hospital wearing a mask. When she sat down in front of a tree, she took off the mask. Although she practiced social distancing, hospital policy specifically requires all visitors to wear a mask.
“Everyone should wear a mask at all times in any national children’s facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the hospital policy says.
This includes “wearing a mask when entering a national children’s building, as mandated by local officials.” This includes all public places, such as the hallway and cafeteria “and” wearing a mask at all times when you are with other people “.
Children’s National spokeswoman Diana Troese cited Washington, DC health regulations – but not the hospital’s own policy – in response to a request for comment.
“Our number one priority at the National Children’s Hospital is the safety of our patients, families and employees. Under DC Health regulations, wearing a mask is not mandatory when a person is giving a speech for a broadcast or hearing, as long as no one is within six feet of the speaker, ” she says.
“In the case of today’s visit which was broadcast to our 325 patients, as the First Lady removed her mask as she read a story, she was over 12 feet from the others in our grand atrium. Everyone else in that space was wearing masks. The rest of her visit she wore a mask, ”added Troese.
Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus at the same time as President Donald Trump in early October.
But health experts say it’s still unclear how long antibodies provide protection, and recommend always wearing a mask.
“Even though the president himself has been infected and probably has antibodies that would likely be protective, we don’t know how long that protection lasts,” Dr Anthony Fauci told ABC News on Tuesday.
The event has been significantly reduced compared to previous visits. Most of the children watched the reading from a live stream, but Trump arrived with Riley Whitney, 6, and Sophia Martinez, 8, sitting on the floor in front of her as she read.
The other participants, including some key members of the hospital leadership, wore masks, some wearing protective face or eye shields.
“It’s wonderful to be here. It’s one of my favorite events over the holidays and I’m very excited and can’t wait to read a book, ”she said upon arriving.
” I think of you all. Stay strong and healthy and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, ”she said before reading a children’s book,“ Oliver the Ornament Meets Marley & Joan and Abbey. ”
Trump kept her mask on as she stepped out for Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”.
Later Tuesday, she took part in a holiday-themed bingo game. She stood on a podium in a studio calling numbers on a microphone, practicing social distancing again, but keeping her mask on all the time.