The COVID-19 in the heart of the White House

La COVID-19 au coeur de la Maison-Blanche

Washington | The White House attempts to limit the spread of coronavirus among its members. But this is not simple.

The West Wing, the epicenter of american power, is a place where social distancing is de facto very difficult to apply.

On Monday, a few hours a press conference in the gardens of the White House, Donald Trump has not discussed the topic that held America in suspense, anxious to project at any price — and irresponsibly, according to his detractors — the image of a country that has crossed the barrier, and restarts.

“The figures of the coronavirus are the best, in decline almost everywhere. Huge progress! “, he tweeted, between the two attacks on the media, ” enemy of the people “, or his predecessor, democrat Barack Obama, who would be, according to his words, at the heart of a resounding scandal ” Obamagate “, in which he has not provided any tangible item.

By the distorted prism of cinema, the west wing of the White House often appears immense in the collective imagination. But this building, which houses the oval Office, the work stations closest advisers, the press room and the offices of the accredited journalists, is in reality a small space in which everyone works very closely.

Kevin Hassett, economic adviser to Donald Trump, a summary this weekend the general feeling of a formula laconic: “It’s a scary thing to go to work “.

“When I went back to work, I knew I was taking a risk, that it would be safer to stay at home than go to the West Wing, which, in spite of all the tests of the Earth and the best medical team, which is still a place where everyone is relatively crowded “, he explained.

The facts are there: the Covid-19 to be closer to the president and the vice-president, his designated successor, which now are tested on a daily basis.

No quarantine for Pence

The new coronavirus has made its official appearance a few days ago in the places: Katie Miller, spokesperson for the vice-chairman Mike Pence and wife of Stephen Miller, a close advisor to Donald Trump, has been tested positive. A military at the service of the president also.

Three members of the crisis unit of the White House on the pandemic were placed as a precaution in self-isolation. Anthony Fauci, the epidemiologist, world renowned, who had distinguished himself in the fight against many viruses, aids, Ebola, Robert Redfield, director of the Centres for prevention and disease control (CDC), Stephen Hahn, the boss of the agency of drugs (FDA).

In an internal note released on Monday, the White House has called on all those working in the West Wing to wear a mask when they enter the building and when they are working, unless they are on their desktop.

During the “briefings” in the press room, all the journalists, whose temperature is taken in a systematic manner before entering the White House, are beginning to ask their questions through their mask.

In contrast to a number of world leaders, Donald Trump has so far chosen not to ever wear them, even on the move as the last week, in a factory for the manufacture of protective equipment at Phoenix (Arizona).

Mike Pence has not attended a meeting at the White House Saturday with Donald Trump and the military hierarchy. But he was indeed present at the White House Monday.

“The vice-president, Pence will continue to follow the advice of the medical service of the White House and is not in quarantine,” explained the spokesperson.

The United States is, by far, the country most grief-stricken in the world by the virus, with more than 79 000 deaths. And if the situation is slowly improving in New York, the main home in the us, the epidemic is just to slow at the national level.

For Barack Obama, the picture is without appeal: the management of the pandemic by the White House is a ” disaster chaotic absolute “.

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