Vaunted White House virus testing couldn’t protect Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — His press secretary once described President Donald Trump as the “most tested man in America” when it came to COVID-19. And variations on that message were the White House ready response any time critics questioned the president’s lax approach to following guidelines for avoiding the novel coronavirus.



A member of the cleaning staff sprays The James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Provided by Associated Press
A member of the cleaning staff sprays The James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)



A member of the cleaning staff wears a protective suit as she sprays The James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Provided by Associated Press
A member of the cleaning staff wears a protective suit as she sprays The James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

But that vaunted testing operation proved woefully insufficient in protecting the president and those who work for him at the White House, as evidenced by a string of positive tests over the past week for Trump, his wife and others in their orbit.



A member of the cleaning staff in protective clothing sprays the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Provided by Associated Press
A member of the cleaning staff in protective clothing sprays the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump demonstrated in dramatic fashion that relying on testing alone isn’t enough to create a safe bubble. Mask wearing and social distancing are other key ingredients for preventing the spread of COVID-19, and both have often been in short supply at the White House.

From the earliest days of the virus, Trump has provided conflicting advice on wearing a mask, noting that federal health experts were recommending them, but adding that “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

At another point, he said that “maybe they’re great, and maybe they’re just good. Maybe they’re not so good.”

And just last week, he poked at Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden on the topic: “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet ways from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

While the White House has not insisted on masks, it has insisted on testing. Anyone in close proximity to the president or vice president is tested prior to the day’s events, including reporters. The president is also tested regularly, as are his most senior aides.

“He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day. And we believe that he’s acting appropriately,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in July when asked whether the president was sending mixed messages on mask wearing. McEnany herself tested positive for the virus on Monday, she said.

Video: Experts say they’re not surprised at Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis (MSNBC)

Experts say they’re not surprised at Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis

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A negative test result can sound reassuring, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a person is free from the coronavirus and not contagious. When the virus enters the body, it takes over a cell’s machinery to copy itself, while fending off the body’s immune defenses. But the

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Opinion | Testing Was Not Enough to Protect Trump’s White House From Coronavirus

The president has been infected with coronavirus. Schadenfreude is inappropriate. This is, however, a good opportunity for leaders to rethink their current policies and rhetoric on prevention — because what the president’s case highlights are the limitations of even the best testing regimes.

The president is tested for coronavirus every day. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the incubation period can be two to 14 days, it usually appears to be somewhere between three and five days after exposure. Given that President Trump tested positive on Thursday, he was most likely infected sometime between Saturday and Monday. We are usually concerned about a sick person being able to spread infections to others for up to two days before symptoms began or a test was positive. Therefore, the president might have been infectious to others as early as Tuesday. He probably interacted with many, many people in this time frame; likewise for Melania Trump and Hope Hicks.

The three of them will now need to isolate for at least 10 days. All of the people who were in close contact with them — and by close contact, I mean spent 15 minutes within six feet of them — will have to quarantine for two weeks, because they are at significantly increased risk of being infected themselves and infecting others. If any of them later test positive or show symptoms, they need to isolate for 10 days from that time.

This, in other words, is going to be a contact tracing fiasco — one that could easily shut down the White House.

Many, including me, have called for more testing for all. But what happened with Ms. Hicks and the president illustrates that testing doesn’t matter unless you close the infection loop with other interventions.

The president and the White House benefit from what is arguably the most rigorous coronavirus testing in the country. In the past, the White House has claimed that Mr. Trump is tested multiple times a day, and is the most tested man in the country.

Screening people without symptoms finds those who are infectious and gets them into quarantine and isolation earlier. But this doesn’t serve any purpose unless you’re also pairing this screening with careful behavior. Even if the infections of the president and others were discovered during regular screening, they still had a huge number of contacts; it’s still a disaster. If you’re going to lead a life where you could theoretically infect hundreds of people or more a day, slightly earlier knowledge doesn’t matter that much.

The most testing, the most advanced technology, and the best health care are simply not sufficient when it comes to this disease. What’s necessary are simple public health measures, like distancing, masking, washing hands and spending as little time as possible close together indoors in the same room. The key to slowing down the spread of coronavirus infections is to have few, if any, close contacts. There’s just no getting around it.

Unfortunately, this has

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How to protect your plants from the snow and cold in Colorado

With an early September cold front on the way, here are some tips on how to prepare your late-summer garden for the snow and cold.

DENVER — Just as our fight with the Japanese beetles is coming to an end this season, Mother Nature is giving us a temporary, but damaging cold snap. Don’t let all of your hard work and dedication to your garden be for nothing.

Take the time to do things to protect your tender plants so when the weather does warm back up at the end of the week you’ll still have flowers to enjoy this fall.

Trees and shrubs

Trees, shrubs and perennials will be fine. The soil is still warm so, while they might take a little hit with their blooms, the plants themselves will survive.

Vegetables

Harvest and cover your vegetables.

If your vegetable plants are too big to cover, harvest the vegetables and let them ripen inside. 

Annuals and flowers

Cover tender annuals, patio pots, herbs and veggies. Frost cloths, bed sheets, or even a larger pot turned upside down on top of the plant will all work as covers.

Do what you can to give plants protection. If you need to, move patio pots into the garage just in case.

Sprinklers

Make sure to disconnect all of your hoses and turn your sprinkler system clock to the off position.

You’re not going to need to water for a while, but do not winterize your sprinkler system yet. Warmer weather is going to return so you’re not done watering for the season.

If you’re concerned about protecting your backflow preventer, go ahead and cover that with a blanket as well. Better to be safe than sorry!

Don’t give up hope, gardeners! In Colorado we have to be as hardy as the plants to survive our crazy weather. So once the storm settles in, enjoy time inside in your fuzzy pj’s with a warm cup of tea. This too shall pass.

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How to Protect an Interior Wood Threshold

Thresholds are sometimes unnoticeable. Not every doorway has them and those that do don't always stand out. However, thresholds can be a nice addition to a doorway, especially if the floor at both sides is distinctively different from its neighbor and needs a separation barrier instead of abruptly meeting each other.

They can also be good for stopping drafts or preventing air, either warm or cool, from escaping or entering.

But what kind of maintenance do indoor thresholds need?

There are several things to consider such as staining, sealing with urethane, or painting. Each is a possibility but the final decision depends on you. The truth is a threshold needs some kind of coating to protect it from getting dirty, being marked up, or damaged.

If you have hard wood floors you could stain the threshold:

1. Lightly sand the threshold leveling it out on all sides.
2. Prepare stain.
3. If you want to match the color of the hard wood floor apply stain slowly in coats.
4. Once you've finished apply a sealer giving it several coats for extra protection.

If you want to paint the threshold:

1. Lightly sand the threshold leveling it out on all sides.
2. Prepare paint. It should be oil-based for the best shine and to be longer lasting.
3. Apply at least two coats letting it dry in between.
4. Once you've finished apply a sealer giving it several coats for extra protection.

If you like the wood color of the threshold you may want to leave it in its natural state. In that case you should still give it a varnish to protect from foot traffic.

1. Lightly sand the threshold leveling it out on all sides.
2. Prepare oil-based varnish.
3. Apply at least two coats letting it dry in between.

Finally add some caulking around the edges of the threshold to prevent dirt from getting caught in any open spaces. After all, the threshold will be crossed by many feet carrying all kinds of gook that may just stick around if given the chance.

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