Tag: aide

UPDATE 5-Biden aide says no U.S.-wide COVID lockdown planned as West Coast states advise against travel

(Adds New Mexico health order; updates latest national tallies)



A health care professional walks past an ambulance during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri


© Reuters
A health care professional walks past an ambulance during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

By Doina Chiacu and Sharon Bernstein

WASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – President-elect Joe Biden’s top coronavirus adviser said on Friday there were no plans for a wholesale nationwide lockdown to curb the surging COVID-19 pandemic, while three U.S. West Coast states jointly called for a halt in non-essential travel.

The warning against unnecessary transit came as the daily increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States rose to a record of over 177,000 on Friday, the fourth straight day a new all-time high has been set, according to a Reuters tally of figures from U.S. public health agencies.

California, Oregon and Washington urged residents to avoid venturing out of state, citing concerns raised by health experts that the coming holiday travel season would accelerate already alarming spikes in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown took the additional step of ordering social gatherings limited to no more than six people, effective immediately, a restriction she said she was prepared to enforce.

“I am not asking you, I am telling you, to stop your social gatherings … and your house parties and to limit your social interactions to six and under, not more than one household,” Brown said.

Similarly, New Mexico’s acting health secretary, Billy Jiminez, extended through the end of November a three-week-old ban on gatherings of more than five people who do not live in the same household, along with a directive advising state residents to stay “in their homes for all but the most essential activities and services.”

That order also requires face coverings be worn in public and mandates the closure of workplaces not defined as “essential businesses,” such as grocery stores, farms, childcare centers, banks, “big-box” retailers, factories and healthcare facilities.

The dire situation has prompted a growing list of state and local governments to re-impose restrictions they eased during a summertime ebb in COVID-19 outbreaks.

The governors of six states in the Northeast, the region hit hardest in the early months of the pandemic, plan an emergency meeting this weekend to coordinate responses, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The country’s patchwork of measures will likely remain intact after Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20 following his election defeat of Republican President Donald Trump, the head of the Democrat’s coronavirus advisory board said.

“We’re not in a place where we’re saying shut the whole country down,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. surgeon general, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“Right now the way we should be thinking about this is more like a series of restrictions that we dial up or down depending on how bad a spread is taking place in a specific region,” he said.

Murthy’s comments were a sharp rebuttal to Trump’s repeated campaign assertions that Biden was intent

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Biden aide says no U.S.-wide COVID lockdown planned as West Coast states advise against travel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President-elect Joe Biden’s top coronavirus adviser said on Friday there were no plans for a wholesale nationwide lockdown to curb the surging coronavirus as three U.S. West Coast states jointly called for a halt in non-essential travel.

The joint advisory from California, Oregon and Washington urging residents to avoid venturing out of state came as health experts voiced concerns that the coming holiday travel season would accelerate already alarming spikes in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown took the additional step of ordering social gatherings limited to no more than six people, effective immediately, a restriction she said she was prepared to enforce.

“I am not asking you, I am telling you, to stop your social gatherings … and your house parties and to limit your social interactions to six and under, not more than one household,” Brown said.

The increasingly dire situation has prompted a growing list of state and local governments to re-impose restrictions they eased during a summertime ebb in COVID-19 outbreaks.

The governors of six states in the Northeast, the region hit hardest in the early months of the pandemic, plan an emergency meeting this weekend to coordinate responses, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The country’s patchwork of measures will likely remain intact after Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20 following his election defeat of Republican President Donald Trump, the head of the Democrat’s coronavirus advisory board said.

“We’re not in a place where we’re saying shut the whole country down,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. surgeon general, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“Right now the way we should be thinking about this is more like a series of restrictions that we dial up or down depending on how bad a spread is taking place in a specific region,” he said.

Murthy’s comments were a sharp rebuttal to Trump’s repeated campaign assertions that Biden was intent on locking down the country if he were elected president.

Medical experts point to increased indoor gatherings with the onset of winter, along with lapses in social distancing and mask-wearing habits, as the main factors stoking an ominous nationwide surge in coronavirus transmissions and the rate of COVID-19 tests coming back positive.

The mounting caseload is starting to strain the resources of some hospitals and is on track to push many to the brink, they warn.

“I’m 100% worried about the holidays,” Dr. Khalilah Gates, a pulmonary specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, told Reuters on Friday. “We don’t have an endless ability to surge.”

TROUBLING BENCHMARKS

Announcing the West Coast travel advisory, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said a strict mandate was ruled out over concerns that “COVID fatigue” might spark a backlash, leading people to behave in ways that are less safe.

The advisory urges individuals entering or returning to the three states to self-quarantine for 14 days, the presumed incubation period for the virus.

On Thursday, California became only the

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Pence to keep up travel despite contact with infected aide

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite his exposure to a top aide who tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said Saturday.

Pence himself tested negative, his office said. Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, the vice president is considered a “close contact” of his chief of staff, Marc Short, but will not quarantine, said spokesman Devin O’Malley.

O’Malley said Pence decided to maintain his travel schedule “in consultation with the White House Medical Unit” and “in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.” Those guidelines require that essential workers exposed to someone with the coronavirus closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask whenever around other people.

O’Malley said Pence and his wife, Karen, both tested negative on Saturday “and remain in good health.”

Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University, called Pence’s decision to travel “grossly negligent” regardless of the stated justification that Pence is an essential worker.

“It’s just an insult to everybody who has been working in public health and public health response,” she said. “I also find it really harmful and disrespectful to the people going to the rally” and the people on Pence’s own staff who will accompany him.

“He needs to be staying home 14 days,” she added. “Campaign events are not essential.”

After a day of campaigning in Florida on Saturday, Pence was seen wearing a mask as he returned to Washington aboard Air Force Two shortly after the news of Short’s diagnosis was made public. He is scheduled to hold a rally on Sunday afternoon in Kinston, NC.

Pence, who has headed the White House coronavirus task force since late February, has repeatedly found himself in an uncomfortable position balancing political concerns with the administration’s handling the pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 Americans. The vice president has advocated mask-wearing and social distancing, but often does not wear one himself and holds large political events where many people do not wear face-coverings.

By virtue of his position as vice president, Pence is considered an essential worker. The White House did not address how Pence’s political activities amounted to essential work.

Short’s diagnosis comes weeks after the coronavirus spread through the White House, infecting President Donald Trump, the first lady, and two dozen other aides, staffers and allies.

Short, Pence’s top aide and one of his closest confidants, did not travel with the vice president on Saturday.

Pence’s handling of his exposure to a confirmed positive case stands in contrast to how Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris responded when a close aide and a member of her campaign plane’s charter crew tested positive for the virus earlier this month. She took several days off the campaign trail citing her desire to act out of an abundance of caution.

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This version corrects in the news summary that Pence tested negative.

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Kamala Harris suspends campaign travel after aide, crew member test positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON — California Sen. Kamala Harris has suspended her campaign travel through Sunday after two members of her staff and crew tested positive for the coronavirus, her campaign said Thursday.

The Democratic vice presidential nominee’s communications director, Liz Allen, and a member of her campaign flight crew tested positive, the campaign said in a statement. Neither has been in close contact with Harris in recent days, the campaign said. The statement did not give the condition of either person.

Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, also canceled travel Thursday, but plans to resume his schedule Friday, as he has had no contact with either Allen or the unnamed crew member, the campaign said.

Harris has been off the campaign trail this week for the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Harris opted to participate remotely from her Senate office for the Judiciary Committee hearings after two Republican members of the panel tested positive for the virus.

Harris and Emhoff both tested negative Thursday, the campaign said. Allen and the crew member both tested positive late Wednesday.

Harris, 55, last flew with the two on Oct. 8, the day after she debated Vice President Mike Pence in Salt Lake City. All wore N95 masks on the flight, her campaign said. Harris intends to resume campaign travel Monday.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, at 77, is at higher risk for serious complications from the coronavirus, and the campaign has implemented rigorous testing and precautionary procedures. Those were amplified after President Trump reported a little over 48 hours after the first presidential debate Sept. 29 that he had tested positive. Several people who work in the White House or were in proximity to the president also tested positive.

The White House has been uncommunicative about what kind of contact tracing it has done. The Biden campaign said it would conduct contact tracing for Allen and the crew member.

Tal Kopan is The San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington correspondent. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @talkopan

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Harris suspends campaign travel after aide, crew member test positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON — California Sen. Kamala Harris has suspended her campaign travel through Sunday after two members of her staff and crew tested positive for the coronavirus, her campaign said Thursday.



a person taking a selfie: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., exits a plane last month in Raleigh, N.C.


© Sara D. Davis / Getty Images

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., exits a plane last month in Raleigh, N.C.


The Democratic vice presidential nominee’s communications director, Liz Allen, and a member of her campaign flight crew tested positive, the campaign said in a statement. Neither has been in close contact with Harris in recent days, the campaign said. The statement did not give the condition of either person.

Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, also canceled travel Thursday, but plans to resume his schedule Friday, as he has had no contact with either Allen or the unnamed crew member, the campaign said.

Harris has been off the campaign trail this week for the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Harris opted to participate remotely from her Senate office for the Judiciary Committee hearings after two Republican members of the panel tested positive for the virus.

Harris and Emhoff both tested negative Thursday, the campaign said. Allen and the crew member both tested positive late Wednesday.

Harris, 55, last flew with the two on Oct. 8, the day after she debated Vice President Mike Pence in Salt Lake City. All wore N95 masks on the flight, her campaign said. Harris intends to resume campaign travel Monday.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, at 77, is at higher risk for serious complications from the coronavirus, and the campaign has implemented rigorous testing and precautionary procedures. Those were amplified after President Trump reported a little over 48 hours after the first presidential debate Sept. 29 that he had tested positive. Several people who work in the White House or were in proximity to the president also tested positive.

The White House has been uncommunicative about what kind of contact tracing it has done. The Biden campaign said it would conduct contact tracing for Allen and the crew member.

Tal Kopan is The San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington correspondent. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @talkopan

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Harris suspends campaign travel after aide tests positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON — California Sen. Kamala Harris has suspended her campaign travel through Sunday after two members of her staff and crew tested positive for the coronavirus, her campaign said Thursday.



a person taking a selfie: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., exits a plane Sept. 28 in Raleigh, N.C.


© Sara D. Davis / Getty Images

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., exits a plane Sept. 28 in Raleigh, N.C.


The Democratic vice presidential nominee’s communications director, Liz Allen, and a member of her campaign flight crew tested positive, the campaign said in a statement. Neither has been in close contact with Harris in recent days, the campaign said. The statement did not give the condition of either person.

Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, will also cancel travel Thursday, but will resume his schedule Friday, as he has had no contact with either Allen or the unnamed crew member, the campaign said.

Harris has been off the campaign trail this week for the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Harris opted to participate remotely from her Senate office for the Judiciary Committee hearings after two Republican members of the panel tested positive for the virus.

Harris joined other Democrats in asking committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to require testing for senators and staffers before lawmakers conducted the hearings in person. Graham refused.

Harris is not expected to return to her Senate office, a spokesman said. Campaign aides and Capitol Hill staffers are separate by law, and Harris’ Senate employees have been working remotely.

In its statement announcing the positive test results, the campaign detailed every negative test result Harris has had since Oct. 8. The most recent was Wednesday, the campaign said. Allen and the crew member both tested positive late Wednesday, the campaign said.

Harris last flew with Allen and the crew member on Oct. 8, the day after Harris debated Vice President Mike Pence in Salt Lake City. All wore N95 masks on the flight, her campaign said. Harris intends to resume campaign travel Monday.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, at 77, is at higher risk for serious complications from the coronavirus, and the campaign has implemented rigorous testing and precautionary procedures. Those were amplified after President Trump reported a little over 48 hours after the first presidential debate Sept. 29 that he had tested positive. Trump, 74, was hospitalized for four days with COVID-19 but has since recovered. Several people who work in the White House or were in close proximity to the president also tested positive.

The White House has been uncommunicative about what kind of contact tracing it has done. The Biden campaign said it would conduct contact tracing for Allen and the crew member.

The Biden campaign’s level of disclosure and detail on the test results in Harris’ camp were in contrast with the approach taken by the White House, which has refused to say when Trump last tested negative before his positive result. The refusal makes it impossible to know whether Trump complied with the independent body that oversees presidential debates’ requirement that candidates test negative

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Kamala Harris cancels campaign travel after aide, crew member test positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON — California Sen. Kamala Harris has canceled her campaign travel through Sunday after two members of her staff and crew tested positive for the coronavirus, her campaign said Thursday.



a person taking a selfie: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., exits a plane Sept. 28 in Raleigh, N.C.


© Sara D. Davis / Getty Images

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., exits a plane Sept. 28 in Raleigh, N.C.


The Democratic vice presidential nominee’s communications director, Liz Allen, and a member of her campaign flight crew tested positive, the campaign said. Neither has been in close contact with Harris in recent days, the campaign said.

Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, will also cancel travel on Thursday, but will resume his schedule Friday, as he has had no contact with either Allen or the unnamed crew member, the campaign said.

Harris has been off the campaign trail this week for the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Harris decided to participate remotely from her Senate office for the Judiciary Committee hearings after two Republican members of the committee tested positive for the virus.

Harris joined other Democrats in asking panel Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to require testing for senators and staffers before lawmakers conducted the hearings in person. Graham refused.

In its statement announcing the positive test results, the campaign detailed every negative test result Harris has had since Oct. 8. The most recent was Wednesday, the campaign said.

Harris last flew with Allen and the crew member on Oct. 8. All wore N-95 masks on the flight, her campaign said. Harris intends to resume campaign travel Monday.

Biden, at 77, is at higher risk for serious complications from the coronavirus, and the campaign has implemented rigorous testing and precautionary procedures. Those were amplified after President Trump reported a little over 48 hours after the first presidential debate Sept. 29 that he had tested positive. Trump, 74, was later diagnosed with COVID-19 and was hospitalized for four days.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Tal Kopan is The San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington correspondent. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @talkopan

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Kamala Harris cancels travel after top aide tests positive for COVID-19

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has canceled travel through Sunday after two people involved in the campaign tested positive for COVID-19, Joe Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, said in a statement Thursday.

Dillon said the campaign learned of the positive tests, from a non-staff flight crew member and Harris’ communications director Liz Allen, late Wednesday. Dillon said Harris was not in close contact with those two “as defined by the” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention within two days ahead of their positive tests.

Therefore, Dillion said there is no requirement for Harris to quarantine.

“Regardless, out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution, we are canceling Senator Harris’s travel through Sunday, October 18th, but she will keep a robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities to reach voters all across the country during this time,” Dillon said. “She will return to in-person campaigning on Monday, October 19th.”

Neither infected person has had contact with Biden, Harris, or other staffers “since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results,” Dillon added.

“After being with Senator Harris, both individuals attended personal, non-campaign events in the past week,” she said. “Under our campaign’s strict health protocols, both individuals had to be tested before returning to their work with the campaign from these personal events.”

Both people were aboard a flight with Harris last week, though Dillon said Harris was not within six feet for more than 15 minutes with either individual. Both Allen and the crew member tested negative before and after that flight, Dillon said.

Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, is having his travel Thursday canceled as well. Dillon said he will return to the trail on Friday.

“From the outset of this pandemic, the Biden-Harris campaign has taken every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Dillon said. “Today’s exceedingly cautious steps are part of that commitment. “

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

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