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The coronavirus continues to pose a threat to both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence despite the fact that White House officials are going all-out to keep both men safe as the pandemic drags on.
To that point, an internal Department of Homeland Security document obtained by Yahoo News notes that the U.S. Secret Service — the men and women who protect the president and vice president — has documented nearly a dozen cases of coronavirus among agents.
In March, the Secret Service noted that one agent had tested positive for coronavirus, but that number grew to 11 this month, according to a daily report from DHS.
The report comes as concerns are growing about the safety and health of Trump and Pence. Earlier this week, the White House acknowledged that one of the president’s valets, a U.S. Navy member, tested positive for coronavirus.
On Friday, reports noted that Katie Miller, Vice President Pence’s spokeswoman, also tested positive.
According to the Homeland Security document, in addition to the 11 Secret Service coronavirus cases there are another 23 members who caught the illness but have recovered, while 60 more employees are under self-quarantine.
“No details have been provided about which members of the Secret Service are infected or if any have recently been on detail with the president or vice president,” Yahoo News reported.
The Secret Service did not provide any details about the afflicted agents.
“To protect the privacy of our employee’s health information and for operational security, the Secret Service is not releasing how many of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, nor how many of its employees were, or currently are, quarantined,” Justine Whelan, a Secret Service spokesperson, told Yahoo News.
Agents don’t just protect the president and vice president, they also provide security for other leaders and presidential contenders, former presidents, and visiting foreign dignitaries. In addition, the service conducts investigations to include, most recently, scams involving coronavirus.
Whelan noted that the agency is following all coronavirus guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Congress and Prevention. However, she did not say how many agents and employees who have tested positive for the virus work at the White House complex.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Secret Service has been working with all of our public safety partners and the White House Medical Unit to ensure the safety and security of both our protected persons and our employees,” Whelan told Yahoo News. “The Secret Service continues to follow guidance issued by the CDC to ensure the health and welfare of our employees and those they come in contact with.”
In recent days, both Trump and Pence have been criticized for not fully practicing social distancing and other CDC recommendations including the wearing of a mask.
Pence was hammered by the media after visiting the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last month.
VP Pence does not wear a mask during Tuesday’s visit to the Mayo Clinic, which is requiring all patients and visitors to wear a face covering or mask in effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/qIddFN9UTW
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 28, 2020
The vice president noted that he gets tested regularly so he saw no need for a mask.
As for Trump, The Associated Press reported this week that he has allegedly confided in aides that he doesn’t like the way he looks in a mask.
Others have speculated that the president and vice president are trying to send a political message in an election year by not being masked in public — namely, that the virus isn’t going devastate the planet and that only certain demographics are at risk.
Age-wise, that would include both men. However, they lack other risk factors such as preexisting medical conditions.