Sunday 8 March 2020

Two People At D.C. Conference Attended By VP Pence Test Positive For Coronavirus

Two people who attended a Washington, D.C. conference — where Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech — have tested positive for coronavirus.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) announced that two people from New York who attended the conference this week have confirmed cases of the contagious disease.
“We have confirmed that at least two Policy Conference attendees from New York have tested positive for the Coronavirus,” AIPAC told conference attendees and participants in an email on Friday.
“We have continued to remain in constant communication with the Westchester County Health Department and the DC Health Department which is coordinating with the New York Health Department, and national health authorities,” the email said, according to Biz Pac Review.
Important Update: Coronavirus

As emailed to Policy Conference attendees, participants, speakers, administration and Hill offices. 
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More than 18,000 people, along with many congressional lawmakers, attend the conference each year, its website says. This year, Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as well as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming attended. Also on hand were former 2020 Democratic candidates Mike Bloomberg and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.
Pence, who has been tapped by President Donald Trump to head up the administration’s response to the virus, said during a Friday briefing that he hadn’t heard that people at the conference had tested positive.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it, in the midst of a busy day,” Pence said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also said during the press conference that he had not heard the news.
“If you have someone who was here, the risk of there being a major outbreak obviously, which everybody thinks about, but what will happen is that those individuals that were infected will have contact tracing and that’s the ‘public health weapon,’ if you want to call it, that we have,” he said.
The D.C. Department of Health said in a statement Friday that “there is no identified risk to conference attendees at this time.”
“All attendees and members of the public are urged to follow the well-established prevention tips like staying home if sick and calling ahead to a health provider if experiencing symptoms,” the Health Department said.
The White House moved to tighten visitor restrictions last month amid fears that the coronavirus could spread there, and is holding regular meetings on how to reduce the threat to Trump and his staff, according to a New York Post report.
“In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the White House has mandated that guests disclose all countries visited in the past 30 days. And further steps are under review by a group led by Tony Ornato, White House deputy chief of staff for operations,” the Post reported.
The group was described to The Post by one senior administration official as a “task force” that convenes when necessary to address emerging threat situations.
The biggest visible change in the West Wing has been installation of hand sanitizer stations. But the senior official said temperature checks and ending public tours are possible if the crisis worsens — though neither is imminent.
The Ornato-led group is “constantly monitoring and re-evaluating” White House protocols, the official said.
Back on February 21, the Secret Service began “requiring non-pass-holding visitors to the White House complex to submit a list of countries visited in the past 30 days.”

“It’s not a hard and fast ban, but it lets the medical experts know who to talk to with follow-up questions,” an official told The Post. “People have been very cooperative and understanding, which we appreciate.”

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