- Thirty-four White House staffers and contacts have been infected with COVID-19 in recent days, according to an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo, ABC News reported Thursday.
- The memo was leaked as multiple reports said White House staffers are afraid to come back to work now that President Donald Trump has returned home while still sick with the virus.
- The document suggests the true scale of the White House outbreak, which was first revealed last week when Trump advisor Hope Hicks tested positive.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Thirty-four White House staffers and other contacts have been infected with the coronavirus in recent days, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News on Thursday.
The memo shows the true scale of the White House outbreak, which was first revealed last week with the news that Hope Hicks, a senior aide to the president, had tested positive.
Since then, both the president and first lady have been infected with the coronavirus, as well as numerous other administration, congressional, and military officials.
Many of the people who were infected in recent days attended the September 26 White House event to announce Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
The leak of the FEMA memo came as multiple reports said White House staffers are afraid to return to work now that Trump left Walter Reed hospital to continue his treatment for the coronavirus at home. The president is still sick and contagious.
Throughout the pandemic, Trump has sought to downplay the virus, and has rarely worn a face mask. He even made fun of Joe Biden for regularly wearing a face mask at the first presidential debate, just two days before Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
As he returned to the White House on Monday, Trump posed for pictures and took off his face mask, even though he was still infected with the virus.
Trump’s relaxed attitude towards the virus has left many staffers afraid to work, according to multiple reports.
“It’s insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff’s health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff,” a White House source told Axios on Tuesday. “This place is a cesspool.”
One White House staff member told The Atlantic that since Trump tested positive, he was “just waiting and worried for my friends and their families.”
“You know, for my White House colleagues, I know they’re scared,” Troye said. “I’ve had conversations with some people that are still there. Their bodies may react differently to COVID.”
“COVID is a very unpredictable virus, and people, you know, react to it in a very different way. I know that they’re fearful and they’re scared. And they have got to be, to a certain extent, embarrassed at what they’re watching, because this is the president and the administration that they’re currently supporting and working in.”