Mike Pence's chief of staff tests COVID-19 positive; US vice-president to maintain campaign schedule

The vice-president and the second lady have tested negative, Press Secretary Devin O'Malley said in a statement on Saturday

Press Trust of India October 25, 2020 19:30:32 IST
Mike Pence's chief of staff tests COVID-19 positive; US vice-president to maintain campaign schedule

File image of US vice-president Mike Pence. Reuters

Washington: Marc Short, Chief of Staff of US vice-president Mike Pence, has tested positive for the COVID-19 , the White House has said, becoming the latest top official to have contracted the deadly disease.

The vice-president and the second lady have tested negative, Pence's Press Secretary Devin O'Malley said in a statement on Saturday.

"Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice-President, tested positive for COVID-19 , began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process," he said.

"Vice-President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health," O'Malley said.

Reacting to the news, US president Donald Trump said, "I did hear about it just now. I think he's quarantining. I did hear about that. He's going to be fine. But he's quarantining."

O'Malley said that while the vice-president is considered a close contact of Short's, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, Pence will maintain his schedule in accordance with the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for essential personnel.

Short did not travel with Pence to Florida on Saturday, where the vice president addressed election rallies. In addition, staffers deemed close contacts with Short were pulled from the trip before departure as well, either leaving the plane or not arriving to travel.

Pence plans to continue to operate as an essential worker and plans to travel again on Sunday.

Trump and First Lady Melania tested positive for the virus on 1 October, after one of the president's closest aides Hope Hicks had contracted the virus. Both have now recovered from the disease.

An event at the White House on 26 September, for the unveiling of Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, was thought to be the root of the localised outbreak.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former Trump counsellor Kellyanne Conway and two senators were among the people around the president who tested positive for the virus.

The US is the worst affected country with over eight million cases and nearly 2,24,000 deaths.

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