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.")