U.S. President Donald Trump gestures towards coronavirus disease testing machines on display as he holds a coronavirus disease …
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures toward coronavirus disease testing machines as he holds an outbreak response news briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, May 11, 2020. Vice President Mike Pence was notably absent.

WHITE HOUSE - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is distancing himself from President Donald Trump out of an abundance of caution, the White House has confirmed.  

“The vice president has made the choice to keep his distance for a few days,” after Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, last Friday tested positive for COVID-19, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Tuesday. 

FILE - Katie Miller, press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence, April 29, 2020. Miller has tested positive for COVID-19.

Pence was notably absent Monday when Trump held a news conference in the White House Rose Garden to promote the administration’s record on coronavirus testing.  

During Tuesday’s press briefing, McEnany also reconfirmed an estimate that by the end of this week 10 million people in the United States will have been tested for COVID-19.  

McEnany said every U.S. state is better off than South Korea at the moment, in terms of coronavirus testing.  

In terms of death tolls, 29 states have recorded higher fatality numbers than all of the Asian country.  

South Korea, with a population of about 52 million, has reported fewer than 300 deaths.  

The United States, with 328 million people, has recorded more than 81,000 fatalities from the novel coronavirus — the most of any country.

Masks for staff

On Monday, the White House directed all staff to wear masks at work except when they are seated at their desks. The president, however, has been a notable exception to the new rule.

McEnany spoke to reporters during her 23-minute briefing Tuesday without a mask.  

When asked why she was not wearing one, she replied, “It’s because I’m distanced from you,” adding she had tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday and again on Tuesday.

Members of the pool of reporters designated to cover the president on behalf of the rest of their colleagues have begun receiving daily COVID-19 tests. They all wore masks while in their assigned seats during Tuesday’s briefing.  

 

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