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White House Ignores Local Mandates, Giving Virus a New Hold in D.C.

WASHINGTON — In recent months, as coronavirus cases rose around the country, the nation’s capital and most of its surrounding suburbs managed to bring infection rates down, through strict preventive laws and a largely compliant population.

But the recent outbreak at the White House and on Capitol Hill underscored how difficult it is for a city with almost no control over the federal government — and where senior officials have sometimes worked at counter purposes on containing the virus — to sustain progress.

An event on Sept. 26 in the Rose Garden, after which a number of officials including President Trump tested positive for the virus, violated the city’s mandates limiting the size of gatherings and requiring masks. Because the White House is on federal property, however, it is exempt from such rules. Guests at the event may well have ventured into the city, but the White House has refused to comply with a municipal request for help with contact tracing. The city had its highest number of positive cases on Monday — 105 — since June, though city officials say it would take several days to determine any trend.

At least one testing site in Washington reported that those seeking a test doubled to 600 on Monday as residents responded with concern to the cases stemming from the White House and Capitol Hill.

The federal government’s disconnect from the city in which it operates, and where many of its staff members live, was perhaps best demonstrated last weekend when a number of White House officials, some of them senior, frantically called officials at the office of Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland for help getting tested. Mr. Hogan has been lauded for his management of the crisis. But the White House officials apparently were unaware of the city’s numerous and

The White House medical team isn’t giving straight answers on President Trump’s health

The White House physician, surrounded by a group of other doctors, emerged just before noon on Saturday from Walter Reed medical center to give a sunny update on President Donald Trump’s condition after his positive Covid-19 diagnosis.



a group of people posing for the camera: White House physician Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley giving an update to the press about President Donald Trump's health as he is being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for Covid-19 on October 3, 2020.


© Pool
White House physician Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley giving an update to the press about President Donald Trump’s health as he is being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for Covid-19 on October 3, 2020.

“This morning the President is doing very well,” said Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, adding: “The President is fever-free for over 24 hours.”

Roughly half an hour after that rosy assessment, came this from a “source familiar with the President’s health” speaking to the print and TV pool reporters, “The President’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

Uh, what? It’s not hard to reconcile what Conley said about Trump’s current condition with what the “source familiar with the President’s health” said mere minutes later. It’s impossible to reconcile the two statements.

And the net result is that the public has no real idea what condition Trump is actually in. Does he have a very mild case of the virus as spokespeople and allies — and Conley — have suggested since we learned he was positive for coronavirus early Friday morning? And that he was taken to the hospital out of an abundance of caution? Or are there real concerns that Trump’s condition is far more serious, as the use of an experimental Regeneron polyclonal antibody cocktail — not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration — and the eerie background quote suggest?

There’s simply