WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 18: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks as President Donald Trump listens … [+]
Topline: A staff member in Vice President Mike Pence’s office tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus, as shared by Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller Friday night and reported by CNN.
- According to Miller, the staffer did not have close contact with Pence or President Trump.
- Pence, who is leading the White House’s response to the coronavirus, was at a Mar-a-Lago event earlier in the month that was attended by two Brazilian officials that later tested positive for the coronavirus.
- On Saturday, Trump shared that he had been tested for the coronavirus, with the test coming back negative, while Pence has not been tested as a White House physician said it was unnecessary at this time.
- On Wednesday, the first two members of Congress tested positive for the coronavirus: Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican, and Utah Rep. Ben McAdams, a Democrat.
Key Background: According to the Washington Post, there have been 18,388 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., with 203 deaths so far. In a press briefing Friday, Trump said he would fully invoke the powers of the Defense Production Act, which allows the federal government to compel companies to expedite and expand development of supplies for national defense. He also said he doesn’t believe a national lockdown will ever be necessary, though, multiple governors are now signing executive orders to close non-essential businesses and to keep people in their residences.