The White House has implemented a number of safeguards on Monday to protect President Trump and other officials from coronavirus.
White House officials began using a temporal thermometer to check the temperature of all White House staff, reporters, and media crews entering the grounds on Monday. Additionally, all persons expected to be in close proximity to Trump are undergoing extra screening procedures.
“In order to keep the entire White House complex safe and healthy, beginning Monday morning, temperature checks will be conducted on everyone who enters campus,” spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.
Those with a temperature reading of 99.6 or less – one degree below average body temperature — were permitted to enter the grounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher as a fever.
On Saturday, one reporter was denied entry to a press briefing for having a temperature exceeding the CDC’s temperature guidelines.
“According to the White House Medical Unit, the temperature was taken three times over a 15 minute period – all three registered above the @CDCgov 100.4 guidelines,” said Katie Miller, Press Secretary to Vice President Mike Pence.
— Katie Miller (@VPPressSec) March 14, 2020
At the Saturday press briefing, both Trump and Pence told reporters that they’d each had their temperature checked before attending the briefing. The reporters also echoed that their temperatures had been checked.
“Was your temperature normal, Mr. President?” one reporter asked.
“Totally normal. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t,” Trump said.
Pence had said that the White House physician’s office was “establishing new protocols for temperature checks.”
Additionally, the White House has imposed new seating assignments for reporters, which entails using empty seats to expand the distance between people.
— lori montgomery (@loriamontgomery) March 16, 2020
The move reflects the federal government’s recent “social distancing” recommendations.
New #coronavirus safety measures at the White House: mandatory temperature checks for all media entering the WH grounds; spacing out correspondents to every other seat in the briefing room pic.twitter.com/8sjoM1BjrW
— Sara Cook (@saraecook) March 16, 2020
Closures and lockdowns are occurring rapidly across the U.S. as coronavirus cases multiply. According to John Hopkins, who has been tracking coronavirus cases globally, there are now 4,093 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of Monday. At least 69 Americans have died from the virus.
The CDC recommended that all gatherings over 50 people be canceled. As such, cancellations have hit schools, major events, resorts, restaurants, theme parks and more across the country.
The White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll event has also been canceled this year.
Out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with the National Emergency Declaration concerning the COVID-19, the Office of the First Lady is announcing that this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll has been canceled. pic.twitter.com/Qr8VdWj6Bw
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) March 16, 2020
Panic buying has resulted in consumers emptying retailers’ shelves of household goods and food, prompting a shortage that has even affected healthcare workers.
“You don’t have to buy so much. Take it easy. Just relax,” Trump told the public during a Sunday press briefing. “Relax. We’re doing great. It all will pass.”