White House Blocked C.D.C. From Mandating Masks on Public Transit

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Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials.

The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s “quarantine powers” and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it.

The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, said the order would have required face coverings on airplanes, trains, buses and subways, and in transit hubs such as airports, train stations and bus depots.

A task force official said the decision to require masks should be left up to states and localities. The administration requires the task force to sign off on coronavirus-related policies.

“The approach the task force has taken with any mask mandate is, the response in New York City is different than Montana, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” said the official who asked not to be identified because he did not have permission to discuss the matter. “Local and state authorities need to determine the best approach for their responsive effort depending on how the coronavirus is impacting their area.”

The thwarting of the mask rule is the latest in a number of C.D.C. actions stalled or changed by the White House. Late last month, the coronavirus task force overruled the C.D.C. director’s order to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February. That plan was opposed by the tourism industry in Florida, an important swing state in the presidential election. Political appointees at the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services have also been involved in rewriting the agency’s guidelines on reopening schools and testing for the virus, bypassing the agency’s scientists.

Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and chairman of the House committee on transportation and infrastructure, criticized Mr. Trump for ignoring public health experts from his own administration on the mask issue.

“It’s especially outrageous because the science is so clear: masks save lives,” Mr. DeFazio said. “The millions of Americans who work in and use our transportation systems every day — from bus drivers, train conductors and flight attendants, to the frontline workers who rely on public transit — deserve to know their president is relying on experts’ best advice and doing everything possible to keep them safe.”

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White House Blocked C.D.C. From Requiring Masks on Public Transportation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials.

The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s “quarantine powers” and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it.

The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, said the order would have required face coverings on airplanes, trains, buses and subways, and in transit hubs such as airports, train stations and bus depots.

A task force official said the decision to require masks should be left up to states and localities. The administration requires the task force to sign off on coronavirus-related policies.

“The approach the task force has taken with any mask mandate is, the response in New York City is different than Montana, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” said the official who asked not to be identified because he did not have permission to discuss the matter. “Local and state authorities need to determine the best approach for their responsive effort depending on how the coronavirus is impacting their area.”

Most public health officials believe that wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to protect against the spread of the virus, particularly in crowded, poorly ventilated public places that attract people from all over, like transportation venues. Many feel that the Trump administration has turned the wearing — or not wearing — of masks into a political expression, as seen most dramatically on Monday evening when President Trump whipped off his surgical mask at the White House door after returning from the hospital where he was treated for Covid-19.

“I think masks are the most powerful weapon we have to confront Covid and we all need to embrace masks and set the example for each other,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the C.D.C. director, who oversaw the drafting of the order, said in a recent interview.

Dr. Redfield has been publicly at odds with President Trump for promoting mask wearing along with social distancing, and for warning that a vaccine for the virus won’t be widely available until next year.

The thwarting of the mask rule is the latest in a number of C.D.C. actions stalled or changed by the White House. Late last month, the coronavirus task force overruled the C.D.C. director’s order to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February. That plan was opposed by the tourism industry in Florida, an important swing state in the presidential election. Political appointees at the White House and

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Fauci says data on masks “speaks for itself” after “super spreader” White House event

Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with CBS News that referring to a cure for COVID-19 may cause “confusion,” and he also weighed in on the health status of President Trump, who contracted the virus but is eager to return to in-person events as the presidential campaign reaches its closing weeks. Fauci also identified the White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a “super spreader” event. 

Fauci, director of the National institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked by CBS News’ Steven Portnoy about Mr. Trump’s penchant in recent media appearances for referring to the treatment he received for COVID-19 as a “cure.” Portnoy, CBS News’ White House radio correspondent, observed that until recently, most of the president’s aides have not worn masks, and he asked what people can learn about the efficacy of that strategy in preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

“I think the — the data speaks for themselves,” Fauci said of mask-wearing. “We had a super-spreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”

A number of Trump aides and allies who attended the nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett in September have since tested positive for COVID-19. 

And talk of a “cure” is inaccurate, Fauci suggested, since there currently is no cure for COVID-19 — only therapeutics.

“We don’t have any indication — I think you really have to depend on what you mean by a ‘cure,’ because that’s a word that leads to a lot of confusion,” Fauci said. “We have good treatments for people with advanced disease who are in the hospital.” 

Turning to the president’s health, the infectious diseases expert did not think that the fact that the president was heard coughing during an interview with Fox News on Thursday night was cause for alarm. He walked through the COVID symptoms that could still be evident, even as Mr. Trump’s health may be improving.

“Most people, when they recover, they recover fine. In a linear fashion, they get better and better and better, which it appears that the president is doing,” Fauci said. “But having a bit of a lingering cough is not at all unusual as someone recovers. So I was not that taken aback by the clip that you just told me because when people do recover, they can have a lingering cough and maybe even a little shortness of breath for a while after they recover. Sometimes it takes a while to get everything back to normal.”

And a cough does not necessarily mean a person is still shedding the virus, although a person who coughs could still be shedding the virus, Fauci also said. 

The president’s physician, Sean Conley, has said Mr. Trump may return to the public as soon as Saturday, although he has also said it won’t be until Monday that the president is fully in the clear. Fauci said

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McConnell avoids White House, citing laxity on masks, COVID-19 precautions

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Putin Is Facing the Toughest Fight of His Presidency as Former USSR Goes up in Flames

Yesterday, October 7, was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 68th birthday, and, in keeping with his Soviet-style personality cult, it would normally have been an occasion for Putin to bask in public fanfare. But this year was different. Putin is holed up at his residence outside Moscow, where he has been since early April, avoiding infection from the coronavirus that is again rampant in Russia, while unrest surges in three countries of the former Soviet Union, and France and Germany are pushing for new EU economic sanctions against Russia because of the poisoning of Russian democrat Alexei Navalny.In honor of Putin’s birthday, the Russian news agency Tass released the final episode of a series entitled 20 Questions with Vladimir Putin, a special interview project to commemorate Putin’s twenty years as leader. In this episode Putin does not discuss pressing economic issues or international affairs, but rather his hobbies, family and other personal matters. Significantly, while Putin mentions that he enjoys his “sweet” grandchildren, he also confesses to his interviewer that “when you occupy this position, sometimes it feels like you cease to be a human being and become nothing more than a mere function.”Funeral for Reporter Who Set Herself on Fire Reawakens Russia’s Passion to Stand up to PutinNo wonder Putin has begun feeling like an automaton. Bad things have been happening to Putin in battalions lately. On July 9, just as the number of coronavirus cases in Russia had begun to decline and the virus seemed under control, mass protests erupted in the Siberian district of Khabarovsk over the arrest on unsubstantiated murder charges of the popular governor, Sergei Furgal.The unrest in Khabarovsk, a cause for deep concern in the Kremlin, was soon overshadowed by events in Belarus, where the largest political rally in over a decade took place in Minsk on July 30 in support of the opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Opposition protests, accompanied by mass arrests, plunged Belarus into turmoil after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, in power for 26 years, reported a landslide victory in the August 9 presidential elections. Despite a severe crackdown, the protests have continued. On October 4, 100,000 people marched in Minsk demanding Lukashenko’s resignation.The events in Belarus, a neighboring country that serves as Russia’s strategic buffer to NATO states, pose a huge dilemma for Putin. The overthrow of an authoritarian leader like Lukashenko by a grassroots democratic movement would set a dangerous example that Russians might at some point follow. But if the Kremlin sends paramilitary forces into Belarus to support Lukashenko, as Putin suggested last month might be done, such a move could result in more Western sanctions against Russia, which would further damage Russia’s faltering economy.Adding to the Kremlin’s troubles, a violent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27 over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies in Azerbaijan, but is controlled by ethnic Christian Armenians who are backed

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BuzzFeed pulls White House reporter over coronavirus concern, saying Trump aides largely not wearing masks

  • BuzzFeed News pulled its political reporter out of the White House press pool.
  • Trump administration aides in the facility have “largely not worn masks” or abided by other basic coronavirus protections, the news site said.
  • President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Trump aide Hope Hicks and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany all have tested positive for Covid-19 since last Thursday. So have three White House journalists.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Members of the White House press corps work outside the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.


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Members of the White House press corps work outside the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

BuzzFeed News pulled its political reporter out of the White House press pool on Wednesday, saying that Trump administration aides in the facility have “largely not worn masks” or abided by other basic coronavirus protections.

The news site’s decision to withdraw journalist Kadia Goba from the press pool came after images showed White House aides standing outside the White House not wearing masks. The pool is comprised of a rotating group of journalists who share details of presidential and facility events with their White House colleagues.

“We will not put our reporters at needless risk of getting a deadly disease — and neither should anyone else,” BuzzFeed Editor Mark Schoofs said in a Twitter post.

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Trump aide Hope Hicks and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany all have tested positive for Covid-19 since last Thursday, along with multiple other people connected to the White House and the president.

Three White House journalists also have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since last week.

BuzzFeed News deputy editor-in-chief Tom Namako, in his own Twitter post wrote: “The Trump administration aides working in the White House have largely not worn masks or adhered to basic precautions around the coronavirus, including in their contacts with the press.”

“The safety of our reporters is paramount,” Namako added.

BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said that the news site is awaiting guidance from the White House Correspondents’ Association on future pool duty rotations, and on how the health of reporters there would be protected.

Politico reporter Meridith McGraw was dispatched to the White House to replace Goba in the press pool.



a group of people standing around a table: The White House stakeout cam (POOL 5/NY rem 115) caught a group of ten or so (possibly more) mask staffers at the EEOB gathered in close quarters eating outdoors. Many of these staffers were not wearing masks.


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The White House stakeout cam (POOL 5/NY rem 115) caught a group of ten or so (possibly more) mask staffers at the EEOB gathered in close quarters eating outdoors. Many of these staffers were not wearing masks.

Goba told The New York Times, “Anyone that knows me understands I’d rather be at the White House working today … but at the same time, there are obvious concerns about working indoors during an outbreak.”

“I don’t want to be knocked out for the rest of the election because I’m sick,” Goba said.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

McGraw on Wednesday afternoon tweeted a photo showing White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern and Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro talking

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Your Favorite Apron and Kitchen Gear Companies Are Now Making Face Masks

Update, October 6, 2020: This article was originally published on April 27, 2020, and recently updated to include more shoppable masks.





© Hedley & Bennett [Official]


The seamstresses at Tilit were already working from home when Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York put out a call on Twitter.

“On March 20, Cuomo had this call to action, saying that NYC was running out of PPE [personal protective equipment]. ‘Small businesses, small companies, get creative,’ was essentially what his Twitter message said, ‘and start helping out,’” says Jenny Goodman, chief operating officer of Tilit, which makes chef coats, aprons, and other “workwear” items for hospitality workers.

Within hours, the team settled on a no-brainer solution. As Goodman explains it, Alex McCrery, Tilit’s founder, happened to be in the office at that moment. “He cut a mask pattern and sewed a sample, and we were like, ‘Okay, let’s make masks.’”

Tilit is just one of many companies pivoting to masks, as it were. Dozens of apparel companies, big and small, are stepping up to use their facilities or distributors to produce face masks, though the scale and actual products vary. Some companies, like Nike, Eddie Bauer, Ralph Lauren, and Gap, are working to produce clinical-grade equipment that can be used in hospitals and are distributing directly to health care facilities.

Others are making fabric masks for customers, in the hope that their use can free up more medical-grade masks for the frontline workers who need them most. These include companies that typically manufacture aprons and other workwear for kitchen and restaurant use, like Tilit, as well as Hedley & Bennett, Blue Cut, Artifact, and CamCam. Food52 is also selling masks, made of denim and flannel and created in collaboration with canvas manufacturer Steele Canvas.

“With the CDC guidelines in place recommending cloth masks for everyone, and many grocery stores now requiring cloth masks to be worn by customers before entering, it’s safe to say people want to both protect themselves and donate to frontline health care workers at the same time,” says Food52 buyer Aja Aktay, who spearheaded the initiative with Steele Canvas.

Food52 clearly notes online that the masks “are not a substitute for N95 or surgical-grade masks and they are not FDA approved,” a disclaimer echoed on nearly all of the product pages for these masks. Rather, they’re intended for regular folks trying to minimize the risk they pose to others. As Vox.com explained, “Masks can help stop the spread of coronavirus not just by protecting the wearer, but by preventing the wearer — who could be an asymptomatic spreader — from breathing and spitting their germs everywhere.”

Between consumers’ growing awareness of the importance of face coverings and the changed CDC guidance, orders are coming in fast: Food52 sold through its first batch of masks within three days and is working to fulfill the current waitlist of orders by the end of April. At Tilit, Goodman says “the demand is crazy, so we’re literally sewing as fast

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Masks not required in White House, even after Trump COVID-19 diagnosis: official

  • A senior official told the Associated Press that the White House will not require face masks, even after President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • The official said that wearing a mask or face-covering is a “personal choice.”
  • Top public health experts have repeatedly urged Americans to wear masks, touting them as the most powerful tool against the virus. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A senior Trump administration official on Friday said masks will not be required in the White House, even after President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told AP that face coverings are “a personal choice.”

The White House did not offer a comment when contacted by Insider. 

There’s a wide body of evidence that masks play a crucial role in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and top public health experts have been urging Americans to wear them for months. 

“We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told senators in mid-September. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.” 

“Anybody who has been listening to me over the last several months knows that a conversation does not go by where I do not strongly recommend that people wear masks,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious disease, said in a recent interview on ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast.

On top of repeatedly downplaying the threat of COVID-19, which has killed over 207,000 Americans, Trump has repeatedly flouted recommendations to wear a mask or face-covering. “I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask, everything disappears,” Trump said in a July interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

During the first presidential debate on Tuesday, the president mocked former Vice President Joe Biden over his mask-wearing habits. 

 

 “When needed, I wear masks. I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said of the former vice president. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday, as the news of Trump’s diagnosis rattled global markets and added a new level of chaos to an already tumultuous election cycle.

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‘Everything’ White House Task Force Adviser Who Sided With Trump Over Masks Says ‘Is False,” CDC Director Tells Colleague

Members of the White House’s coronavirus task force don’t always see eye to eye, and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), isn’t keen on comments the newest addition has been making.

Redfield, who has been a member of the task force since its inception, told a colleague during a September 25 phone call that “everything” Dr. Scott Atlas says “is false.” Atlas was added to the task force in August, and Redfield warned a colleague during the phone conversation, which was overheard by NBC News, that he was misleading President Donald Trump with data about mask efficacy, herd immunity benefits and who is at risk.

Atlas contradicted Redfield’s sworn testimony last Wednesday that the data shows more than 90 percent of the U.S. population is still susceptible to the new coronavirus. Atlas said during a briefing that same day that Redfield “misstated something” and added that the CDC’s state-by-state data “is old.” Atlas also said immunity to the infection is not “solely determined by the percentage of people who have antibodies” but also by cross-immunity from other infections.

“So the answer is no, it is not 90 percent of people that are susceptible to the infection,” Atlas said, adding that people are “supposed to believe the science and I’m telling you the science.”

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Redfield and Atlas also broke on the usage of masks. The CDC director told a Senate panel on September 16 that wearing a mask was one of the “most powerful tools” American have right now.

robert redfield scott atlas cdc trump coronavirus
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal response to the coronavirus on September 23.
Alex Edelman/ POOL/AFP/Getty

Redfield told senators on September 23 that it’s important to use masks if a vaccine is only 50 percent effective, because it’ll give immunity to only half the population.

In response, Trump, who called Redfield about his comment that masks could be more effective than a vaccine, said that a mask “perhaps helps” and that Redfield had “made a mistake,” a stance that Atlas supported.

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“There’s no sound science that shows that you should have all populations wear masks in all circumstances…and that is very much in concert with what is posted on the World Health Organization website and that’s very much in concert with the president’s own policy,” Atlas told CNN on September 18.

Newsweek reached out to Atlas, the CDC and the office of Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the task force, for comments but did not receive responses in time for publication.

Trump, who is regularly tested for the coronavirus, started wearing a mask only in the summer and faced criticism for not embracing facial coverings earlier, in order to lead by example. He pushed back on mask wearing, often citing the earliest months of the outbreak when experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of

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Top Trump officials seen not wearing masks or social distancing at White House Supreme Court announcement

Many of the guests for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination announcement arrived at Saturday’s event with masks on, but as the Rose Garden event got underway, masks were virtually non-existent.



Alex Azar, Eugene Scalia are posing for a picture: 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, on Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Alex Brandon/AP
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, on Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Some of the Trump administration’s top health officials, as well as other attendees, were seen not wearing masks or social distancing at the highest-profile event at the White House since the Republican National Convention in August.

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Seats for guests in the White House Rose Garden at the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett also did not appear spaced apart the recommended six feet, CNN reporters observed, as US deaths from the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 200,000.

The event stood in striking contrast with the ceremonies earlier this week at the Supreme Court and US Capitol honoring the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, where many attendees at both events wore masks and were careful interacting with one another. Trump, who went mask-less for Saturday’s event, wore a face covering when he paid respects to Ginsburg this week.

Alex Azar, the head of the Health and Human Services Department, put on a mask at one point during Trump’s speech announcing the President is nominating Barrett as the nominee.

But as he left the ceremony, the nation’s top health official fist-bumped without a mask on — going against the health recommendations he has espoused during the pandemic. Azar has repeatedly encouraged Americans to wear a facial covering and to practice social distancing.

CNN has reached out to HHS for comment.

Top administration officials, including Attorney General William Barr and Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist who is the latest addition to the White House coronavirus task force, were also seen without masks, shaking hands and interacting closely with other attendees.

Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Saturday that “for one of the leaders of our country, of our Health and Human Services, walking around without a mask just sends the wrong message.”

“It is essential for all of us who hold positions of influence in healthcare and government, or just in media to wear masks when we’re out in public, to send that right message because that’s the only way that, right now, that we’re going to combat and succeed against this virus,” she said.

Ahead of the event, White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNN Saturday that anyone in close proximity to the President will be tested for Covid-19, and that there will be social distancing measures.

But two of Barrett’s colleagues at Notre Dame, who attended the Rose Garden event and were seated toward the front of the audience, said they were not tested

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What the White House testing czar had to say about Trump rallygoers not wearing masks

The White House’s coronavirus testing czar declined to comment Sunday when pressed by CNN’s Jake Tapper on how President Donald Trump’s decision to continue holding campaign rallies amid the coronavirus pandemic undermines the task force’s message on mask wearing and other prevention guidelines.



a man wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Admiral Brett Giroir, U.S. assistant secretary for health, wears a protective mask during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump administration officials are set to defend the federal government's response to the coronavirus crisis at the hearing hosted by a House panel calling for a national plan to contain the virus. (Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images)


© Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 31: Admiral Brett Giroir, U.S. assistant secretary for health, wears a protective mask during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump administration officials are set to defend the federal government’s response to the coronavirus crisis at the hearing hosted by a House panel calling for a national plan to contain the virus. (Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images)

Tapper asked Admiral Brett Giroir: “When President Trump holds a rally and there are no masks required and no social distancing, is that the example that you’re talking about when you talk about everybody needing to do their part to bring the numbers down?”

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Citing the high number of coronavirus deaths in the US, Tapper added, “How is this not a failure, and how is President Trump leading us out of it in the right way, according to your own words?”

Even as the coronavirus deaths in the US near 200,000, Trump has begun crisscrossing the US in the final stretch before the election and holding campaign rallies, which have the potential to be super spreader events.

Giroir said Sunday that people should be “empowered to know that they can slow the spread and change the course. They can save lives by doing the things we talk about, wearing a mask.”

Without directly commenting on the President’s behavior at rallies, Girior told Tapper, “Biology is independent of politics.”

“If you cannot physically distance, all the docs, all the public health experts, all of us are really unanimous that it’s important to wear a mask when you can not physically distance, avoid the indoor crowded space, wash your hands, combined with smart testing,” he said.

Tapper again pressed Giroir: “President Trump is doing these rallies. The people are not wearing masks. These are super spreader events potentially.”

“So, again, I just want to repeat what I said. Biology is independent of politics,” Giroir replied.

“Don’t tell me, tell President Trump,” Tapper said.

Trump’s recent campaign events have violated state mandates put in place to slow the spread of the pandemic and attendees have been seen without face masks and not social distancing. He also held his first entirely indoor rally last week in Nevada, which was in defiance of the state’s restriction on gatherings of 50 people or more.

On Sunday, Girior told CNN that mask wearing is a “critical step” to preventing the spread of coronavirus and said it was the responsibility of government officials to help people understand that.

“We always encourage the wearing of a mask, because it is a very important — it’s a critical step to prevent the spread,” Girior said. “And we want people to

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