White House not contact tracing Rose Garden event considered possible ‘superspreader’: report

The White House is not contact tracing guests and staff who attended a Rose Garden event for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite many viewing it as a possible spreader of the coronavirus, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The celebration, which took place 10 days ago, is viewed by some as the potential epicenter or “superspreader” of the White House’s coronavirus outbreak because it has been followed by at least 11 attendees testing positive for COVID-19, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpLabor secretary’s wife tests positive for COVID-19 Russia shuts down Trump admin’s last-minute push to strike nuclear arms deal before election Trump makes appeal to suburban women at rally: ‘Will you please like me?’ MORE, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpDOJ accuses ex-Melania Trump aide of violating nondisclosure agreement White House Halloween to be ‘modified’ to meet CDC guidelines: report Second GOP senator attends Barrett hearings in person after COVID-19 diagnosis MORE, adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayBillboard warns Trump’s Iowa rally will be ‘superspreader event’ White House Halloween to be ‘modified’ to meet CDC guidelines: report Minnesota health officials connect COVID-19 cases to Trump, Biden campaign events MORE, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, at least three Republican senators and other White House staff.

An unnamed White House official told the Times on Monday that officials were not contact tracing those connected to the event.

Contact tracing includes public health workers trying to stop COVID-19 transmission by reaching out to people who have tested positive for the disease and asking them to both self-isolate and provide a list of people they had contact with 48 hours before becoming sick, who will, in turn, also get a call. In this way, health officials are able to stop the potential spread of the virus before it can be passed on to someone else.

The White House is still technically following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that require contact tracing for the 48 hours leading up to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the official told the Times. 

Public health experts have criticized the decision not to contact trace the Rose Garden event, however.

“This is a total abdication of responsibility by the Trump administration,” Boston University public health expert Joshua Barocas told the Times. 

Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday, shortly after it was revealed his close aide Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes Trump should try a little empathy Trump Jr. returning to campaign trail after quarantining MORE had tested positive. In the following days, several others announced positive diagnoses. 

On Monday, Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after three days of treatment.

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Jennifer Aniston Considered Quitting Acting To Become An Interior Designer

By Sarah Curran.

She’s one of Hollywood’s most famous stars but Jennifer Aniston almost gave up acting to pursue a completely different line of work.

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The “Morning Show” actress recently considered becoming an interior designer despite working in front of the camera for more than 30 years.

Aniston shared her thoughts about walking away from show business with co-hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett during their latest episode of the “SmartLess” podcast.

“I would have to say the last two years that has crossed my mind,” she admitted, “which it never did before.”

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The “Friends” alum explained that she considered walking away from the industry after an “unprepared project” she had completed “sucked the life out of me.”

“I don’t know if this is what interests me,” she recalled thinking.

Revealing why she considered transitioning into a career in interior design Aniston said, “I love it. It’s my happy place. It’s really a happy place for me.”

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Emmy winner Aniston eventually had a change of heart once she began work on “The Morning Show”.

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Military Police Considered Using Heat Ray on White House Protesters, Whistle-Blower Says

Top administration officials have defended the response to the protests, arguing that law enforcement officers in the square in the days leading up to the clash had been met with violence from bad actors. Testifying before Congress in July, Gregory T. Monahan, the Park Police’s acting chief, said that his officers acted with “tremendous restraint.”

Top Republican lawmakers, as well as Attorney General William P. Barr, have previously sought to discredit Major DeMarco, noting that he ran as a Democratic House candidate in 2018.

Major DeMarco, who also testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources as part of the panel’s investigation into the clash, offered a starkly different picture, telling lawmakers that the police used “excessive” force on protesters.

The heat ray that officials had sought was developed with the intent of repelling individuals without injury. But military news releases describe the technology as causing an “unbearable heating sensation,” and a system deployed to Afghanistan with the Air Force in 2010 ultimately was never used and was withdrawn, in part, some speculated, because of public opposition.

In a meeting days before the 2018 midterm elections, Customs and Border Protection officials suggested using the device on migrants at the southwestern border, but the idea shocked attendees, and Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, angrily dismissed the idea outright.

Major DeMarco, in his written testimony, also told lawmakers that military officials had sought out powerful sound cannons known as Long Range Acoustic Devices, which can be used to loudly issue commands to crowds but can also serve as a deterrent. A federal judge in New York ruled in 2017 that the sound the cannons emit could be considered a form of force, after the police used such a device to emit a series of piercing beeps directed at protesters who later said they had developed ringing in their ears and dizziness because of the noise.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs and John Ismay contributed reporting.

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Federal officials considered using ‘heat ray’ on protesters outside White House, military whistleblower says

A military whistleblower says federal officials sought some unusual crowd control devices — including one that’s been called a “heat ray” — to deal with protesters outside the White House on the June day that law enforcement forcibly cleared Lafayette Square.

In written responses to questions from a House committee, National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco said the Defense Department’s lead military police officer for the National Capital Region sent an email asking if the D.C. National Guard possessed a long-range acoustic device — used to transmit loud noises — or an “Active Denial System,” the so-called heat ray.

DeMarco said he responded that the Guard was not in possession of either device. National Public Radio and The Washington Post first reported DeMarco’s testimony.

Use of either the acoustic device or the Active Denial System would have been a significant escalation of crowd control for the Guard members, particularly since the Defense officials ordered that the Guard troops not be armed when they went into D.C.

Law enforcement personnel were armed. And although active-duty military troops were sent to the region, they remained at bases outside the District in case they were needed but never actually entered the District.

The Active Denial System was developed by the military nearly two decades ago, and was unveiled to the public around 2007. It’s not clear that it’s ever actually been used in combat, although there are reports it has deployed.

The system, which emits a directed beam of energy that causes a burning heat sensation, was considered a non-lethal way to control crowds, particularly when it may be difficult to tell the enemy from innocent civilians in war zones. Use of the device appeared to stall amid questions about whether it actually caused more serious injuries or burns than initially thought.

The Long Range Acoustic Device, also called a sound cannon, sends out loud messages or sounds and has been used by law enforcement to disperse crowds. The U.S. military has, in recent years, ordered the LRAD for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command to be used by ships to hail or warn other vessels.

DeMarco testified in late July before the House Natural Resources Committee, which is investigating the use of force against crowds in Lafayette Square that night. His remarks on the crowd control devices came in response to follow-up questions from the committee. DeMarco’s lawyer sent his answers to the committee on Aug. 28; NPR posted the document online Wednesday.

The Trump administration has said that vicious attacks by protesters led federal forces to turn on what appeared to be a largely peaceful crowd June 1 in the square in front of the White House. Law enforcement and security officers that night clubbed and punched protesters and unleashed mounted officers and chemical agents against them in one of the most controversial confrontations at the height of this year’s nationwide protests over the killing of Black people at the hands of police.

The forceful clearing of Lafayette Square, long one of the

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