Vice President Mike Pence's office announced that a member of his staff has tested positive for the coronavirus. According to The Hill, the positive test is the first for the White House to date. It follows a pair of negative tests for both President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka, though some are questioning those results.
Pence's office released an official statement confirming the positive test, with his press secretary Katie Miller attempting to paint a full picture of the news. It is not the first time we've seen any of the administration interact with those who later tested positive, but this does hit closer to home.
"This evening we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the Coronavirus," the statement read. "Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual. Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines."
As The Hill notes, Pence noted that he had not been tested earlier in the week, following the directions of the White House doctor. Trump was reportedly tested a week prior despite the same doctor telling him and the media that there wasn't a need. Speculation swirled after it was revealed that Trump and Pence had met with a Brazilian official earlier in March during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
Both Pence and Trump also had contact with lawmakers that have since self-quarantined after they came in contact with another positive case during the Conservative Political Action Conference back in February.
Testing for the virus has been a hot topic in recent weeks. When SXSW canceled its 2020 festival and the NBA suspended the entire season, the effect of coronavirus' spread truly hit home. Soon after the president declared a national emergency and had made Pence the head of the White House coronavirus team. The vice president has been one of the few positive forces during these briefings, praising the efforts of Americans and increases in test availability.
The Hill adds that Pence has struck a different tone than Trump amid the coronavirus panic. During Friday's press conference, both Trump and Pence were asked the same question. Trump's answer caused a wave of viral outrage, while Pence was given praise for giving the response that many thought the president should've given.
Pence told reporters and those watching, "do not be afraid, be vigilant." He then urged people to follow the federal guidelines and help combat the spread of the disease.