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Pence continues campaign despite top aid tests positive for COVID-19

(CGTN)    14:12, October 26, 2020

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, a spokesperson said. The new case has added to the list of infected persons connected to Donald Trump's administration.

Marc Short began quarantine and assisted in the contract tracing process, Pence's spokesperson Devin O'Malley said in a statement. "Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today and remain in good health," he added.

Pence, who has been campaigning ahead of the November 3 election, will not go in self-isolation and maintain his current schedule in consultation with White House doctors, said the spokesman.

A surge in COVID-19 cases led to the U.S reaching a record number of daily infections for a second day running on Saturday, with nearly 89,000 new cases. So far, the virus has claimed more than 224,000 American lives.

Several people connected to the White House have contracted the virus, including President Trump, who was hospitalized before recovering. However, Trump has downplayed the seriousness of the virus, calling for businesses to reopen so the economy can recover.

White House: We're not going to control the pandemic

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday told CNN that the U.S. is "not going to control" the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas," Meadows said on "State of the Union," a CNN's Sunday morning program.

When pressed by the host on why the U.S. isn't going to get the pandemic under control, Meadows said: "Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu." He added that the Trump administration is "making efforts to contain it."

"What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it's therapies or vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don't die from this," quoting Meadows' comments from CNN.

The comments came as the White House continues to ignore advisory from leading government health experts on face masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings despite the staggering rise in the number of infected cases.

U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that it would be clear whether a COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective by early December but that more widespread vaccination would not be likely until later in 2021.

"We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December," Fauci told the BBC.

"When you talk about vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak, that very likely will not be until the second or third quarter of the year."

Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent in the upcoming polls, has repeatedly criticized Trump's handling of the health crisis.

In a statement released by his campaign, Biden seized on those comments, saying Meadows "stunningly admitted this morning that the administration has given up on even trying to control this pandemic, that they've given up on their basic duty to protect the American people."

"This wasn't a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgement of what President Trump's strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn't, and it won't," Biden added.

 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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