Second White House journalist tests positive for coronavirus this week

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A second White House journalist has tested positive for COVID-19 in less than a week, the White House Correspondents’ Association said on Wednesday.

The latest case was diagnosed after the person was on White House grounds and tested negative on Monday and Tuesday, association president Zeke Miller wrote in an email to members.

On Sunday, a journalist tested positive before they could join the press pool that comes in close contact with President Trump.

“As of this moment, there appears to be no overlap between this case and the case over the weekend,” Miller wrote. “The press workspace and the briefing room have already received a cleaning.”

Coronavirus cases among White House reporters were rare before the past month. The first confirmed case involving a journalist was detected July 9. In that case, the person attended two press briefings the week before they tested positive.

Earlier in the pandemic, many suspected cases among White House reporters proved to be false alarms, or journalists with flu-like symptoms were unable to acquire tests.

Journalists at the White House are allowed to pace the West Wing driveway to engage with officials and are allowed to walk through parts of the West Wing that lead to press officer desks. Many White House staffers don’t wear masks.

Testing is inconsistent for reporters who come close to Trump. Most reporters who interview Trump or participate in the press pool first are subjected to a rapid-results Abbott test. But reporters attending at least one recent press briefing with Trump were not tested before he entered the James Brady Press Briefing Room.

Journalists face intense peer pressure to work from home or their offices, rather than their assigned desks at the White House, but TV journalists and news wire reporters are present consistently, as are reporters who have a rotating seat at briefings.

Several close aides to Trump also caught the deadly virus without passing it on to the commander-in-chief, including national security advisor Robert O’Brien, a personal valet to Trump and White House coronavirus task force spokeswoman Katie Miller.

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