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That makes at least six in Trump’s circle, including the president and First Lady Melania Trump, who have tested positive in the last few days.
Stepien was diagnosed Friday and was experiencing what one source told Politico was “mild flu-like symptoms.” He reportedly plans to self-quarantine until he recovers, and hopes to continue to be in charge of Trump’s campaign.
The growing list of people connected to the White House with COVID appears to be largely linked to the announcement of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court at an event in the Rose Garden last Saturday where few people wore face masks, sat side by side, and many shook hands.
Barrett recovered from COVID earlier this year. But epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, a senior fellow of the Federation of American Scientists, warned that her previous bout with COVID does not preclude reinfection.
An unidentified journalist covering the Barrett announcement also tested positive. Two other White House reporters, who didn’t attend the Rose Garden event, contracted the coronavirus in what may be a second stage of infections from the nomination event.
“The White House Medical Unit is beginning the process of contact tracing for these cases,” said a statement Saturday to members from the White House Correspondents Association.
“Due to cases linked to the pools last weekend and the large number of press credentialed for the 9/26 Rose Garden event, we ask that if you were on the White House grounds or in the pools those days, that you pay extra attention to any changes in your health.”