Erin Banco and Aswin Suebsaeng explain just how lax the White House testing regimen for COVID-19 is at The Daily Beast:
The White House may house some of the most important figures in government. But for months, the testing protocols to screen potentially infectious individuals have been more lax than the president’s aides present to the public.
Olivia Troye, a former senior adviser for the White House coronavirus task force, said in an interview Friday morning that “the majority of people who work in” the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which houses most offices for White House staffers, “weren’t getting tested daily” when they “went into the West Wing for meetings.”
“I knew this because you have to be on the list to get tested and I know from talking to them,” Troye recalled. “It was going to be a time constraint and a resource constraint… These were more junior staffers who weren’t seeing the president, but from what we know about how this virus spreads, that… wasn’t keeping people safe.”
Two individuals familiar with the matter said that after National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien tested positive for the virus July 27, the White House implemented a new testing policy that said all officials and staffers in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building agree to random coronavirus testing. It marked the first time the White House made it mandatory for employees to get tested, despite several individuals testing positive before that date. But, as outlined in a memo The Daily Beast previously obtained, there were still holes in the plan: Not every official was tested every day.
“They basically picked names out of a hat,” one official said.
Under the testing regimen, the “failure to report to testing” would be “considered a refusal to test,” while an individual could defer testing “based on a compelling need.” Exceptions included those who had teleworked for more than 30 days or planned to in the following two weeks, employees on approved leave or on official travel, or people who were not in the immediate vicinity of the building during testing hours.
There were, officials said, other problems with the testing protocols. For starters, staffers in the EEOB said they have been concerned about the accuracy of the tests administered—swab tests with near immediate results. And one other EEOB official said that while not everyone in the building has been required to work from the office, some individuals who experienced symptoms over the last several months were able to stay at work before securing a time to be tested.
At the White House, those entering the compound had reportedly been required to take Abbott point-of-care swab tests. But scientists said those have mixed results and it’s unclear what tests are being administered now. Over time, the universe of those subjected to testing has been decreased to those who work closely with the president. The White House does not mandate the wearing of face masks either.
The administration’s testing protocol for those invited to join the president on Air Force One has also struck many as seriously flawed. According to a congressional aide, the White House didn’t always make guests isolate after getting the test that is required in order to go on the plane, meaning that a guest could get tested and then go about their business—risking exposure—before boarding. “It didn’t inspire confidence,” said the aide.
Much more at the link.
This was all preventable. Mandatory use of masks, proper social distancing, minimizing in person contact, authorizing as much telework as possible, regular hand washing, having a proper testing regime, and ACTUALLY LISTENING TO LEGITIMATE SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS AND FOLLOWING THEIR SCIENTIFICALLY BASED MEDICAL ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONs would have all reduced the probability of what is happening. Instead the President couldn’t even be bothered to do the easiest and least difficult type of leadership: leading by example by wearing a mask, keeping his events few and almost exclusively by video teleconference, and listening to Dr. Fauci.
Hire a clown, expect a circus.
We are off the looking glass and through the map!