May 8, 2020
A second member of the White House staff has tested positive for the novel coronavirus—and while the first was a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s team (who tested positive in March), the latest victim of the virus is said to be a member of the U.S. military who serves as a valet for President Donald Trump, The Hill reports.
“We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”
CNN first reported that the individual who tested positive is a member of the U.S. Navy who serves as one of the president’s personal valets. The network reported that the individual started exhibiting symptoms on Wednesday morning, May 6.
According to the cable news network, the valets are members of an elite military unit dedicated to the White House and often work closely with the president and the first family. Trump was upset when he was informed Wednesday that the valet had tested positive, a source told CNN, and the President was subsequently tested again by the White House physician.
Trump and Pence have been tested regularly for the virus. The White House also administers rapid tests to individuals who are traveling with Trump or Pence—and conducts temperature checks on visitors and reporters who enter White House
The president has in recent days been adamant about the need to start lifting restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus and to allow businesses to reopen. More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past month as the virus grips the economy.
“I’m not saying anything is perfect,” Trump said in Arizona, where he traveled this week. “And yes, will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon.”
More than 1.2 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data, and more than 73,000 people in the country have died from the virus.
Research source: @thehill