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Trump’s COVID diagnosis followed waning precautions at the White House


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President Donald Trump said we were “rounding the turn” and that the “end of the pandemic is in sight” just before he tested positive for COVID-19.

USA TODAY

As President Donald Trump quarantined in the White House residence Friday morning after testing positive for COVID-19, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows stood outside and said he wasn’t wearing a mask himself because his test was negative.

“We’re hopefully more than 6 feet away,” he said to the reporters before him, “and if there’s any concern there from a guidance standpoint, we have protocols in place.”

From the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a disconnect between the guidance of public health experts and the actions of Trump and some of his deputies. 

From holding large gatherings to resisting masks, the president, his administration and his campaign have sent conflicting messages to the American public as they sought to portray an image of strength and normality. 

Experts said Trump and his administration could have done more: Mandate masks at the White House, hold fewer large gatherings and use technology to allow staff to meet remotely. 

“This was not inevitable, but this was the likely outcome,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

Live updates on Trump and COVID-19: President in hospital for extended stay; many infected at White House gathering

Timeline: President Trump’s travels leading up to his positive coronavirus test

Who has tested positive in Washington?: A running list of Trump officials and others who have tested positive

Trump, he said, is “as susceptible as anyone else in the world. Many of us are taking precautions that greatly exceed the cautions that he tends to take.”

Just three weeks ago, Trump ridiculed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing a mask so often, saying, “If I were a psychiatrist, right, you know I’d say: ‘This guy’s got some big issues.'” 

At a presidential debate Tuesday night, two days before Trump announced his positive test, he did it again.

“I have a mask right here. I put the mask on it, you know [when] I think I need it. As an example, everybody’s had a test, and you’ve had social distancing and all of the things that you have to, but I wear a mask, when needed — when needed, I wear masks. I don’t — I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen,” Trump said, mocking Joe Biden at the first presidential debate on Sept. 29. (Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)

Experts: Testing isn’t enough to stop the spread of the virus

Though public health experts recommend social distancing, masks and frequent hand-washing to guard against spreading the virus, the administration appears to have relied mostly on testing. Some of the politicians and Trump administration staffers who have announced they had contracted the coronavirus were tested before they were scheduled to appear with Trump at an event or fly with him on Air Force One. 

Frequent testing isn’t enough, said Michael Ben-Aderet, an infectious disease physician and associate director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The White House should be “setting an example” through “good infectious control policy,” he said. 

“A lot of essential workers have been able to protect themselves, and I see the president as another essential worker,” he said.

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said May 10.

Before attending briefings in the small press room, journalists received a second round of temperature checks and were asked if they had any symptoms. They received a small colored sticker if they were cleared. Signs encouraging social distancing cropped up inside the West Wing. McEnany’s aides regularly donned face masks in the briefing room.

Many staff working at the time in the cramped West Wing wore matching black cloth masks with a small American flag, similar to the one Trump sometimes wore, said a former White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Staff were not required to wear a mask if they were at their desk and were at least six feet apart, the former official said.

“I felt safe, and I know my colleagues did as well,” the former official said.

Safeguards disappeared over the summer

The president continued to eschew mask-wearing even as more Secret Service agents tested positive. In June, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a campaign aide and the girlfriend of his son Donald Jr., came down with COVID-19.

The white tent, the routine temperature checks and other safeguards disappeared by late June, when the White House said it would scale back some of the safety measures, citing Washington, D.C., entering phase two of reopening.

By July, Trump told reporters he was being tested every two to three days. The president made those remarks hours after McEnany asserted Trump was tested “multiple times a day,” which the president flatly denied hours later.

On July 1, Trump said he would wear a mask “in a tight situation with people,” but he said he rarely found himself in such situations and noted people are tested before they get close to him. 

Even after urging the American public to wear masks — a step he took in late July — Trump was frequently seen without one.At a Red Cross event in Washington, D.C., July 31, he wore a mask for part of the visit. 

Few guests wear face masks as they watch from the White House South Lawn as President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection. August 27, 2020 (Photo: SAUL LOEB, AFP via Getty Images)

After Biden and Democrats held a virtual nominating convention in August, the Trump campaign gathered more than a thousand people at the White House — sitting arm-by-arm, mostly without masks — to hear Trump’s acceptance speech.

His large, raucous campaign rallies have continued mostly unabated since: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan. Most are outside, though people often pack closely together. Defying state rules, Trump held a rally and a “Latinos for Trump” roundtable indoors in Las Vegas last month.

Campaign volunteers frequently take the temperature of audience members and distribute masks, but the vast majority of attendees do not wear them. In interviews with USA TODAY and other media, many have embraced the president’s rhetoric questioning face coverings.

Trump’s campaign: President Donald Trump’s coronavirus test result could alter his reelection campaign, undercut pandemic messaging

His campaign has been eager to draw a contrast with Biden and change the subject from the coronavirus, which has killed about 209,000 Americans. But there were questions about safety all along.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN last month he was “puzzled and rather disheartened” by the lack of face coverings at the events.

Attending the rallies — even holding them — is “is an act of defiance,” said Republican political strategist Doug Heye. “I think there’s a very reasonable question of whether lives are being put in jeopardy just to do a political event.”

Though White House policy still recommends masks, they’ve become a rare sight in the West Wing. Not only have the president’s aides declined to wear them during public events, they have rarely donned them when the cameras are off. Aides are frequently seen jammed into the warren of offices outside the Oval Office, without any face coverings in sight.

“Frankly, anyone in the White House who’s not using a mask frequently is a fool,” Mina said on a Friday call with the media. “To not do everything in their power to keep themselves healthy is just absolutely foolish.”

He added, “It really pisses me off that we have a president who has failed to do one of the most basic things a president should do, which is to keep himself safe.” 

Last weekend, about 180 people filled the White House Rose Garden to watch Trump announce his nomination of federal judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Less than a third wore masks.

From right, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greet people after President Donald Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)

That included the Rev. John Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, where Barrett is a law school professor. On Friday, the university announced Jenkins had tested positive for the coronavirus, though it attributed it to contact with a colleague on campus in Indiana.

Ben-Aderet of Cedars-Sinai said based on what we know about the virus, people tend to feel worse in their second week of infection. Trump has several high-risk factors for COVID morbidity, including obesity and his age. “We don’t know what other risk factors he has,” Ben-Aderet said.

“It’s just another reminder that COVID is still here,” he said. Despite the direction from the White House, “we’re still seeing transmission.”

Contributing: Josh Salman, Karen Weintraub, Kevin McCoy, Courtney Subramanian, David Jackson and Michael Collins.

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Hollyoaks’ Luke Morgan ISN’T in the flash forward episode sparking fan fears he will die after dementia diagnosis


LUKE Morgan will not feature in the Hollyoaks New Year’s Eve flashforwarded episode fuelling fears he is going to be killed off next year.

Soap fans have been terrified Luke – who is played by actor Gary Lucy in the Channel 4 soap – is going to die next year after being diagnosed with dementia.

 Hollyoaks fans are convinced that Luke Morgan is leaving the soap again

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Hollyoaks fans are convinced that Luke Morgan is leaving the soap againCredit: Channel 4

The Sun Online can reveal actor Gary will not appear in the special hour-long episode which will jump forward a yea rot explore the new drug dealing County Lines storyline, meaning he could die in the next year.

While Luke’s ex Mandy and his friend Nancy both appear in the flash-forward, Luke does not and his absence is conspicuous.

Taking to a fan forum, many asked if Luke’s dementia diagnosis meant he would be saying farewell to the village.

It comes after Luke dumped his girlfriend Cindy Cunningham just days after proposing to her.

Fans were left in tears at the emotional scenes and started questioning Luke’s future.

“Oh wow. Yeah. Not expecting this at all. I think he’ll die in late 2020,” one person wrote.

 Viewers were in tears as Luke dumped his girlfriend Cindy

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Viewers were in tears as Luke dumped his girlfriend CindyCredit: Channel 4

A second viewer commented: “Unless it’s a misdiagnosis or something, I think this must be the end for Luke.”

And a third added: “Soaps do often kill off an iconic character in an anniversary year. But I think Gary is absolutely going to smash this and it will be heart-breaking to watch.”

A fourth fan was really upset at the possibility of Gary leaving, and wrote: “Not happy about it at all, plus they did change his character from when he left to how he was when he came back with Luke saying he’s a loser all the time.

“He was more positive when he first left. I really wanted to see him back to be more like his old self & move forward.”

Hollyoaks fans break down in tears as dying Luke dumps Cindy to save her from watching him die

Gary, 38, first joined Hollyoaks back in 1999 and was a series regular up until 2002.

During this time he received much praise for taking on the male rape storyline and won the Best Newcomer Award at the 2000 British Soap Awards.

He returned to the soap in 2017, and then again earlier this year following his character’s stint behind bars.

Hollyoaks airs weeknights on Channel 4 at 6.30pm with a first look episode following at 7pm on E4





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