More people have died from Covid-19 than in the past 5 flu seasons combined

U.S. Marine One, with President Donald Trump onboard, prepares to land on the South Lawn of the White House on October 5. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The White House has declined offers from the Centers for Disease Control to help investigate the outbreak surrounding President Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis, according to a federal health official.

The offer by the CDC to engage with such efforts as running contact tracing occurred  almost immediately after the president made public he had contracted coronavirus. Despite the concerns expressed by those at the CDC, including Dr. Robert Redfield, officials at the White House turned down the CDC’s offer to help, the official said. 

The offer was repeated in a phone call on Monday, according to the source.

But White House has shown little indication it is conducting a comprehensive effort to properly trace contacts from those exposed at events like the Supreme Court nomination ceremony where almost no masks were worn and there was no social distancing both at the outdoor event and an indoor reception.

Some attendees said they have had no outreach and others have said even when notified they were not asked the slate of questions typically used to document who else may have been exposed through contact.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said positive cases are taken seriously.

“The White House has plans and procedures in place that incorporate current CDC guidelines and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure and has established a robust contact tracing program led by the White House Medical Unit with CDC integration,” Deere said in a statement.

A WH official says a CDC epidemiologist has been detailed to the White House since March and is assisting.  

The DC government, where many of the attendees reside, has gotten no response from the White House despite multiple efforts by political and health officials to get information. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday there had been no “substantial contact.”

Mayor Bowser spokesperson Susana Castillo says there have been “multiple attempts” since Friday to contact the WH at both the political and public health levels.

This past weekend, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the White House would not be providing public information about how many staffers on the White House campus become sick, citing privacy concerns.

McEnany herself publicly announced yesterday she was infected. Two of her aides have also tested positive.

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