WHO chief: Herd immunity strategy ‘unethical’ for tackling pandemic

  • The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that trying to reach herd immunity by allowing COVID-19 to spread is “scientifically and ethically problematic.”
  • “Allowing a dangerous virus that we don’t fully understand to run free is simply unethical,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
  • His comments, at a press conference on Monday, came days before it emerged the White House was warming to a herd immunity strategy.
  • The WHO estimates that less than 10% of the global population has been exposed to the virus, meaning that the vast majority of people are at risk.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that allowing COVID-19 to spread freely in the hope of achieving herd immunity is “simply unethical.”

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that herd immunity — where a large portion of a community becomes immune to a virus, limiting its spread — must come through a vaccination, and cannot be achieved by allowing people to become infected. 

His comments, made at a press briefing on Monday, came days before senior US officials said the White House was warming to the herd immunity strategy.

Tedros said that “herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it.”

“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic.”

Too little is known about COVID-19 immunity to be sure if herd immunity can even be achieved, he said, referring to documented cases where people have been infected with the virus for a second time.

The most recent example of a reinfection came on Tuesday, when a man from Nevada tested positive for COVID-19 twice. He suffered worse symptoms the second time around.

Tedros also pointed out that many people experienced long-term health problems after COVID-19 infection. 

“Allowing a dangerous virus that we don’t fully understand to run free is simply unethical,” he said. “It’s not an option.”

The WHO encourages using systems to track, test, and isolate cases of the virus before they spread. 

Less than 10% of the global population has been exposed to the virus, the WHO estimates, meaning that the vast majority of people remain susceptible.

The coronavirus has killed over one million people worldwide and infected more than 37.5 million.

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White House chief of staff refuses to ‘talk through a mask’ to reporters

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsAdministration officials call on Congress to immediately pass bill to spend unused PPP funds Trump claims he is ‘immune’ from coronavirus, defends federal response Senate Republicans rip new White House coronavirus proposal MORE refused to “talk through a mask” to reporters on Monday after initially removing the mask, telling them he was “more than 10 feet away.”

“I’m more than 10 feet away … that way I can take this off,” Meadows told reporters at the Capitol during Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

After a reporter asked him to put it back on, Meadows replaced the mask and walked away, saying, “I’m not going to talk through a mask.”

The chief of staff wore a mask in the hearing room with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, according to NBC News.

Meadows is among the White House employees who continued to work out of the White House and directly interact with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDes Moines mayor says he’s worried about coronavirus spread at Trump rally Judiciary Committee Democrats pen second letter to DOJ over Barrett disclosures: ‘raises more questions that it answers’ Trump asks campaign to schedule daily events for him until election: report MORE since the president was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month. Meadows said he tested negative for the virus as of Monday.

White House doctor Sean Conley said Saturday that the president meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation” and “is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” but the White House has yet to clarify when the president last tested negative for the virus.

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White House chief of staff hosted 70-person wedding in Georgia despite COVID-19 restrictions: report

Mark Meadows
Mark Meadows

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to the press in Statuary Hall at the Capitol on August 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have publicly downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and failed to acknowledge the value of social distancing measures. One such Republican is White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who — according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution — hosted a “lavish wedding” in Atlanta in May that violated the city and state’s social distancing guidelines.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, has been an aggressive supporter of social distancing in her city and has had some major disagreements with Georgia’s far-right Republican governor, Brian Kemp, over the coronavirus pandemic — which, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has killed more than 1 million people worldwide and over 212,000 people in the United States. Back in May, under Bottoms’ stay-at-home order, gatherings of more than ten people were prohibited in Atlanta — and Georgia had a statewide social distancing order as well at the time. But according to Atlanta Journal Constitution reporters Patricia Murphy and Greg Bluestein, the wedding that Meadows hosted for his daughter had about seven times as many people.

“The wedding took place May 31 at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Midtown Atlanta,” Murphy and Bluestein report. “The 70 or so guests, including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, donned tuxedos and ball gowns for the indoor affair, but no masks, as Meadows walked his daughter, Haley, down the aisle through a path of soft white flower petals. With crystal chandeliers, marble floors and a frame of soaring Roman arches, the lush scene could have come from any wedding magazine — were it not taking place at the height of a global pandemic.”

During the summer months, Kemp was criticized by many Democrats, including Bottoms, for being too quick to ease Georgia’s coronavirus restrictions. But according to Murphy and Bluestein, Kemp’s statewide coronavirus restrictions were still in place when Meadows hosted that wedding.

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“Although the state of Georgia had loosened some restrictions by the end of May,” Murphy and Bluestein explain, “Gov. Brian Kemp’s orders at the time expressly banned gatherings of more than 10 people. The statewide order in effect — which Kemp signed on May 12 — restricted gatherings of more than 10 people so long as they’re not ‘transitory or incidental,’ or spread out across different locations.”

The reporters note that “pictures of the wedding reviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution show groups of people clustered closely together in the same room throughout the evening. Under that emergency order, law enforcement could have potentially written citations to the venue for exceeding the gathering size.”

Five months later, Murphy and Bluestein point out, Meadows is facing “intense criticism” for his leadership during the outbreak of COVID-19 infections plaguing the White House — and for a September 26 ceremony for Judge Amy

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Senator Eyed as Biden Interior Chief Has Conservation Streak

(Bloomberg) — Retiring Senator Tom Udall is leading a short list of candidates to run the Interior Department if Joe Biden wins the presidency next month — a role that would put him to work in a building named for his father.

Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, is a top contender to be Biden’s secretary of the Interior and would consider the role if asked, according to people familiar with the matter who sought anonymity to discuss the personnel search.



Tom Udall wearing a suit and tie: Senate Passes Measure To Limit Trump On Iran That Faces Veto


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Senate Passes Measure To Limit Trump On Iran That Faces Veto

Senator Tom Udall

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“It’s hard to find someone who’s been a bigger champion of public lands than Tom Udall, whether you’re talking about in his state, New Mexico, or nationwide, advocating for the Arctic refuge and fighting climate change,” said Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s land protection program. “It’s in his genes.”

Representative Deb Haaland, another Democrat from New Mexico, and Representative Raul Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona who leads the House Natural Resources Committee, also have won praise from environmental groups and been recommended to head the Interior Department.

The agency acts as the nation’s landlord, overseeing grazing, recreation, energy development and other activities on about a fifth of the U.S. The department also is in charge of the national park system and regulates energy development in coastal waters, including offshore wind farms and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tom Udall’s father, Stewart Udall, was Interior secretary from 1961 to 1969 and is credited with a major expansion in federal land protection, including the creation of dozens of wildlife refuges, national parks and recreation areas. He died in 2010, and the agency’s headquarters building in Washington was named for him three months later.

Under President Donald Trump, the Interior Department has encouraged mining and drilling for oil and gas on federal real estate, while creating new hunting and fishing opportunities at wildlife refuges and hatcheries. Under Biden, the department would take a sharp left turn, pivoting to focus aggressively on conservation while clamping down on drilling.

“If we’re going to save the human species and save animal species, we need to take dramatic action,” Udall said Monday, during an online event environmental groups organized to celebrate the lawmaker’s legacy.

Udall spokesman Ned Adriance declined to answer questions about the senator’s potential role as Interior secretary. “Right now, Senator Udall is focused on a strong finish to his Senate term, and he’s also working hard to help the Biden-Harris ticket win New Mexico, win the West and win the election,” Adriance said.

Udall has laid out plans to enlist federal lands in the fight against climate change — transforming the territory into uninterrupted habitat for vulnerable species and a sponge for carbon dioxide instead of a prime U.S. source of fossil fuels and the greenhouse gas emissions that come from burning them.

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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ignored virus rules at wedding, report says

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a castle on top of a building: The White House is seen in Washington, early Tuesday, the morning after President Trump returned from the hospital where he was treated for COVID-19.


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The White House is seen in Washington, early Tuesday, the morning after President Trump returned from the hospital where he was treated for COVID-19.

President Trump made the stunning announcement that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 early Friday, Oct. 2. Since that time, several others in Trump’s circle have tested positive for the virus. Here’s the latest about what we know:

  Thursday, Oct. 8 11:56 a.m.  

Democratic nominee Joe Biden will hold event next week in lieu of debate, campaign says

By Christina Prignano, Globe staff

In a statement issued shortly before noon Thursday, the Biden campaign said it would hold its own campaign event next week in lieu of the debate, and called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to move back the town-hall style debate on Oct. 22. The third debate is currently set to be similar in format to the first debate.

Next week’s debate was scheduled to emphasize questions from voters rather than a moderator.

“The voters should have a chance to ask questions of both candidates, directly. Every Presidential candidate since 1992 has participated in such an event, and it would be a shame if Donald Trump was the first to refuse,” deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in the statement.

  Thursday, Oct. 8 10:07 a.m.  

Trump touts progress in stimulus talks days after spiking them

By Bloomberg News

President Trump said talks on providing additional fiscal stimulus are now “starting to work out,” after he pulled his side out of negotiations earlier this week.

“I think we have a really good chance of doing something,” Trump said Thursday morning in a live interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business. There are now “very productive talks” on coronavirus relief, he said.

Months of hard-fought negotiations on a stimulus package to shore up a slowing economic recovery came to an abrupt end Tuesday, when Trump pulled his team out of the talks. He then called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to send him standalone assistance bills, including for airlines and individual stimulus checks.

  Thursday, Oct. 8 9:52 a.m.  

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ignored virus rules at wedding, report says

By Associated Press

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows hosted a large wedding for his daughter that appeared to violate a Georgia order and city of Atlanta guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, an Atlanta newspaper reported Thursday.

Photos of the event show that social distancing guidelines were not followed during the May 31 nuptials at the Biltmore Ballrooms Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

About 70 guests, including US Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, wore tuxedos and ball gowns but no masks at the indoor wedding, and photographs show groups of people clustered closely together in the same room throughout the evening, the newspaper said. Georgia had loosened some coronavirus restrictions by the end of May, but Gov. Brian Kemp’s orders at the time

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Kitchen United Appoints Michael Montagano Chief Executive Officer, Promotes Joy Lai to Chief Operating Officer

Kitchen United a ghost kitchen industry leader, announced today the appointment of Michael Montagano as Chief Executive Officer and newest member of the Company’s Board of Directors following two years serving as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Additionally, Joy Lai has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer from her previous position as Chief Marketing Officer.

“Over the past three years, we have built a solid foundation on which to grow. I am proud of what we accomplished in my years at Kitchen United, and can say without a doubt the Kitchen United team is the best that I’ve had the privilege to serve alongside. I know they will continue to achieve great success in the years ahead,” said former CEO Jim Collins who departed the company to focus on personal endeavors.

“Michael is well positioned to continue to build upon Kitchen United’s industry leadership and help restaurant partners achieve optimal success,” said David Krane, CEO and Managing Partner at GV. “He has been instrumental in growing the business and charting the course for the future, making him the ideal leader to advance the company into its next chapter of growth. Together with Joy, who has a deep understanding of consumer adoption and scaling businesses, we are confident the Kitchen United leadership team will achieve long-term success.”

Mr. Montagano joined Kitchen United as CFO in 2018, as an experienced executive with a proven track record of building and scaling venture-backed companies. He led capital formation initiatives for the company securing institutional financing partners including GV, Fidelity Investments, and G Squared, as well as strategic partners, RXR Realty, DivcoWest and Rich’s Food Products. Prior to Kitchen United, Mr. Montagano helped shepherd PowerFlex Systems from seed-stage to acquisition by a Fortune Global 100, Electricite de France (ENXTPA:EDF). He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Dog Haus World-Wide, one of the country’s fastest-growing national restaurant chains.

Mr. Montagano grew up in a restaurant family anchored by an Italian restaurant and neighborhood butchery founded by his grandparents. He received his MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his JD from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law.

“I look forward to working closely with our exceptional senior leadership team and our entire board of directors,” Mr. Montagano said. “We believe strongly in the Company’s growth potential as we sharpen our focus on serving our clients and creating value for our stakeholders.”

In her new role as Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Lai oversees sales, marketing and operations at Kitchen United. She joined Kitchen United in 2019 bringing nearly two decades of experience driving growth for Enterprises and SMBs, including launching/scaling products, partnerships, and optimizing omni-channel strategies. She previously held strategic leadership roles at Internet Brands, The Wonderful Company and Bain & Company. Ms. Lai received a BS from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MS from Stanford University.

“Our team has built a burgeoning business by marrying deep experience in the industry with a passion for growing off-premise business

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White House grinds to a halt as Trump’s press chief joins Covid-infected list

Donald Trump’s top spokesperson, Kayleigh McEnany, announced she had tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, in yet another escalation of a rampaging outbreak that hospitalized the president and threw the White House into disarray – even as Trump announced he was leaving hospital.



a woman talking on a cell phone: Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters


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Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Related: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for coronavirus – live

With the pandemic surging, the economy foundering and the election fast approaching, operations at the White House appeared to grind to a halt, with senior staff complaining anonymously to reporters they had been kept in the dark about the president’s condition and given no instruction about how to stay safe as more than a dozen colleagues and recent visitors announced they had Covid-19.



Kayleigh McEnany on Friday at the White House. No internal communications detailing precautions staff should take had been issued, a senior aide told Axios.


© Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Kayleigh McEnany on Friday at the White House. No internal communications detailing precautions staff should take had been issued, a senior aide told Axios.

The state of Trump’s health was muddled by mixed messages from his doctors and top aides – and by erratic moves by Trump himself, who left the hospital for a brief car ride on Sunday night and on Monday morning cut loose a string of all-caps campaign-related tweets.

However, early Monday afternoon, just as a fresh medical briefing on the president was awaited and amid growing speculation, Trump tweeted that he would leave the hospital that evening, at 6.30pm.

He simultaneously downplayed once again the seriousness of the disease, having received himself the best care available anywhere, by saying : “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Trump was admitted Friday evening and had reportedly demanded to be released on Sunday, but was assuaged with the controversial ride in an armored SUV to greet supporters outside the hospital.

Citing an anonymous source, Vanity Fair magazine reported on Monday that Donald Trump Jr was worried by his father’s behavior and had sought help from his siblings in “staging an intervention”.

Depending on when he contracted the virus, it seemed Trump had not yet emerged from the window when he is likely to be infectious. It was unclear how his return to the White House could impact the escalating health crisis there.

No internal communications detailing precautions staff should take had been issued, a senior White House official told Axios. It’s “ridiculous,” the official said. “A bunch of us are talking about it and just gonna make the calls on our own.”

Video: Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for COVID-19 (Reuters)

Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for COVID-19

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Democrats condemned the White House’s handling of the outbreak – and

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Voice Of America White House Bureau Chief Investigated By Political Appointees : NPR

An investigation by political appointees into Steve Herman, the Voice of America’s White House bureau chief, for anti-Trump bias is the latest act that may break federal laws promising its journalistic independence.

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Voice of America

An investigation by political appointees into Steve Herman, the Voice of America’s White House bureau chief, for anti-Trump bias is the latest act that may break federal laws promising its journalistic independence.

Voice of America

Two political appointees at the federal agency that oversees the Voice of America recently investigated one of its most prominent journalists to make the case he was biased against President Trump, NPR has learned.

They compiled an extensive report deemed “confidential” on VOA White House bureau chief Steve Herman, claiming that in his reporting and tweets that Herman had been unfair to Trump and had broken the broadcaster’s standards and social media policies. And they repeatedly cited a “conflict of interest,” based on their conclusions from Herman’s social media postings, including his own tweets and his “likes,” according to materials reviewed by NPR. The findings were quietly presented to acting Voice of America Director Elez Biberaj for action two weeks ago.

In so doing, the two men appear to have violated laws and regulations intended to protect the federally funded news outlet from political interference or influence. That has set off alarms within the VOA newsroom, already unnerved by investigations of coverage of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by VOA’s Urdu language service and the tenor of language used to describe his wife, Jill Biden, to introduce a segment on VOA’s French to Africa language service.

NPR spoke to three people who had knowledge of the episode and another five for other elements of this story. It is not clear what Biberaj has done with the file. Herman, who declined comment for this story, is perhaps the most public face of VOA. He has been its bureau chief in India, South Korea and Thailand as well as the network’s senior diplomatic correspondent.

Earlier this year, Herman drew the ire of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff after revealing the vice president had not worn a mask inside the Mayo Clinic despite his office’s awareness of the hospital’s policy requiring it ahead of time. And Herman last week filed a first-person dispatch about being barred from Joe Biden’s campaign plane over concerns of COVID-19. Herman had traveled on Air Force One a day earlier — just before news broke that White House communications director Hope Hicks and the president had tested positive for the virus.

The investigation of Herman is the latest and perhaps the most blatant in a growing series of episodes pointing to the politicization of the international broadcaster since Trump’s pick, Michael Pack, became CEO of its parent agency. Pack took over the U.S.

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At the White House, an Eerie Quiet and Frustration With the Chief of Staff

WASHINGTON — In a memo to his senior staff on Friday morning, Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, encouraged everyone to stay away from their offices in the Old Executive Office Building while contact tracing was going on. On Saturday, he held an all-staff conference call to discuss what the coming weeks would look like while President Trump remained under treatment for the coronavirus, and later reiterated the message that staff members were to work from home.

At the Trump campaign headquarters in Virginia, Bill Stepien, the campaign manager who tested positive for the virus himself, instructed staff members to “wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance, check in via the LiveSafe app on a daily basis and work from home if you’re not feeling well.”

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, delivered no guidance to the president’s aides about how they were expected to behave in a moment of crisis. But the West Wing has also been a ghost town since Mr. Trump’s departure for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday afternoon.

With the president hospitalized and Melania Trump, the first lady, who also tested positive, recovering in the residence, only a few officials came in over the weekend for television appearances or to give Mr. Trump a national security briefing by phone.

The West Wing always clears out when the president is not in the building, usually because a large portion of the senior staff travel with him wherever he goes or on weekends. But over the past few days, it has been even quieter.

A number of staff members are either sick themselves or quarantining after being in contact with Mr. Trump or colleagues who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Some advisers, like Mr. Meadows and Dan Scavino, the deputy White House chief of staff for communications, have been at the hospital in order to remain in the president’s immediate orbit.

Missing as well in recent days has been a deployment of West Wing staff members, including Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, and some communications staff members like Julia Hahn and Ben Williamson, who have been working out of Mr. Pence’s office on Capitol Hill in preparation for the expected Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Mr. Pence himself was working from his residence over the weekend.

The lack of marching orders from Mr. Meadows was not exactly a surprise to many administration officials. They have long expressed frustration at how he operates, neglecting to relay messages to the president from agency leaders who ask to speak with him and giving off the impression that he is focused solely on trying to score a legislative victory for himself to please the boss.

Some Trump allies on Capitol Hill said it was “disturbing” to see how Mr. Meadows was handling the current crisis. And administration officials were left puzzling over his strategy or motives for delivering information about Mr. Trump’s health.

On Saturday, Mr. Meadows

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President Trump furious at chief of staff for contradicting White House physician, sources say

President Donald Trump is furious with chief of staff Mark Meadows after the top West Wing official contradicted the White House physician’s assessment Saturday of the President’s health, two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN on Sunday.



Mark Meadows wearing a suit and tie: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to the media about US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, October 2, 2020. - Meadows addressed the positive Covid-19 tests of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. "They remain in good spirits. The president does have mild symptoms and as we look to try to make sure that not only his health and safety and welfare is good, we continue to look at that for all of the american people," Meadows said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)


© SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to the media about US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, October 2, 2020. – Meadows addressed the positive Covid-19 tests of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. “They remain in good spirits. The president does have mild symptoms and as we look to try to make sure that not only his health and safety and welfare is good, we continue to look at that for all of the american people,” Meadows said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Meadows is now widely known inside the White House to be the unnamed source who spoke to reporters following the medical briefing Saturday and offered a more dire assessment than Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley had given shortly before. That reporting was initially given to a pool of reporters attributed to an official familiar with the President’s condition. Later, the Associated Press and the New York Times identified that official as Meadows.

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“The President’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery,” Meadows said to reporters.

Trump is outraged at Meadows over the botched message, according to a senior Trump adviser.

Officials in the Trump White House have carefully calibrated their statements about the President’s health over the past few days. Meadows’ statement on Saturday capped a 24-hour period of mixed messages from the administration that raised major questions about the President’s health.

CNN previously reported that the President was unhappy with Meadows.

Video: NYT: WH pressured CDC to downplay risks of reopening schools (CNN)

NYT: WH pressured CDC to downplay risks of reopening schools

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A separate White House official confirmed Trump is unhappy with Meadows, as the chief of staff is now viewed by Trump advisers as having damaged the credibility of the current medical briefings on the President’s bout with the coronavirus.

Conley had talked with the President before briefing members of press on Saturday, one White House official said. The official added Conley is unlikely to say more than the President wants said.

During a press conference on Trump’s health on Sunday, Conley appeared to blame the media when asked about Meadows’ comments contradicting him, saying the top aide’s remarks had been “misconstrued.”

“The chief and I work side by side, and I think his statement was misconstrued. What he meant was that 24 hours ago when he and I were checking on the President, that there was that momentary episode of a high fever and that temporary

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