A member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the second positive case in the White House this week. Bloomberg, who was first to report the news, says it is unclear if this case is related to the case announced Thursday. A senior administration official also confirmed the news to NBC News. Pence and his team have not yet responded to the reports.
Bloomberg News first reported this.— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) May 8, 2020
News of the confirmed case comes the same day that Pence, who has faced widespread criticism after failing to wear a face mask during his visit to the Mayo Clinic, is scheduled to visit Des Moines, Iowa, where he is to discuss the effect of the coronavirus outbreak has had on churches and food supply. According to CNBC, while Pence's plane did depart from Andrews Air Force Base, it was delayed by about an hour. The delay was reportedly due to staff dealing with the news. Reporters traveling with the vice president said several staffers disembarked from Air Force Two just before takeoff.
Pool reporters say Air Force Two now rolling for take off. They say some staffers got off the plane, but no official explanation for the hour delay.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 8, 2020
Friday's news follows Thursday's confirmation a member of the U.S. Navy who serves as one of President Donald Trump's personal valets had also tested positive. That case marked the first to hit the White House. The unidentified person, who reportedly served the president food and drinks, had begun to experience "symptoms" Wednesday and was promptly tested.
"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," White House spokesman 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."
In response to the case, Trump, who confirmed that he had contact with the person, revealed later that evening that the White House staff would now be tested daily for the virus. He also said that the valets who serve his food will now be required to wear masks.
"But I have always said testing is somewhat overrated. Because what happens after somebody takes a test, what's going on there?" the president told reporters, according to CNBC. "We were testing once a week, now we're going to go testing once a day, but even when you test once a day, someone could, something happens where they catch something."