Health Experts Question What Mike Pence Is Doing

The White House says Pence can campaign despite coronavirus exposure
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2020 4:00 PM CDT
Health Experts: Pence Really Should Not Be Doing This
Vice President Mike Pence listens during the vice presidential debate Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, file)

Health policy specialists questioned White House officials' claim that federal rules on essential workers allow Vice President Mike Pence to continue to campaign and not quarantine himself after being exposed to the coronavirus, the AP reports. Campaigning is not an official duty that might fall under the guidelines meant to ensure that police, first responders, and key transportation and food workers can still perform jobs that cannot be done remotely, the health experts said. A Pence aide said Sunday that the vice president would continue to work and travel, including for campaigning, after his chief of staff and some other close contacts tested positive. Pence tested negative on Sunday and decided to keep traveling after consulting White House medical personnel, his aides said.

Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, was among those who tested positive. President Trump said early Sunday that Short was quarantining. That usually means isolating oneself for 14 days after exposure in case an infection is developing, to prevent spreading the virus to others. Pence was holding a rally Sunday in North Carolina, events in Minnesota and Pennsylvania on Monday, and more events in North Carolina and South Carolina on Tuesday. The most recent numbers show COVID-19 cases are rising in 75% of the country. On Sunday, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said Pence "is following all the rules" from federal health officials. (He called Pence "an essential worker" who should be allowed to go out "campaigning and voting.")

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