Pence Should Quarantine, Not Debate, Expert Says

October 7, 2020 – Vice President Mike Pence should quarantine himself rather than attend tonight’s debate in Salt Lake City with Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during ‘a press briefing held Wednesday by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

Based on media reports and television footage of last weekend’s event at the White House in the Rose Garden, Walensky said it appears Pence sat for more than 15 minutes at under 1.80 meter of people who then tested positive for COVID-19. Therefore, she says, it meets the CDC’s definition of being exposed to the virus.

“Based on that, I think he should follow CDC guidelines for quarantining,” she said. “Quarantining means he would be home and not out for 14 days after this event, which will take him beyond tonight’s vice-presidential event.”

Walensky, who is the head of the infectious disease division at Massachusetts General Hospital, added that by participating in the debate, Pence is putting a number of other people at risk.

“In order for Vice President Pence to participate in tonight’s debate, there are many people he needs to be in contact with. The people who will drive his car, who will fly his plane, who will work in hotels – all of those people will be exposed, not just Senator Harris. That’s why I find it very important that he follows the guidelines of the CDC, ”she said.

In one posted memo On Tuesday, CDC director Robert Redfield said that after consulting with White House doctor Jesse Schonau, MD, the agency ruled that “the vice president is not in close contact with a known person. with COVID-19, including the president. ” Therefore, according to the memo, Pence, who tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday, can safely participate in tonight’s debate.

The memo defined close contact as being “within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes from 2 days before the onset of illness.”

The mostly maskless rally in the rose garden to introduce Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett to around 150 attendees is suspected to be responsible for a COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Washington Post.

At the last count, at least 14 or 15 people linked to the White House were infected, Walensky said. All of these people should be isolated for at least 10 days, she noted, and anyone who has come in contact with them should be quarantined for 14 days.

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Jothi Venkat

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