Pence’s pro mask endorsement was praised by the corners of the administration on Monday. A senior official said it was “a step in the right direction that President Trump should take”.
Anne Schuchat, deputy chief director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Monday webinar hosted by the Journal of the American Medical Association that “we need to get everyone on board at this point.” (Schuchat did not specifically quote Pence, but spoke after the magazine’s editor-in-chief praised the vice president for advocating masks over the weekend.)
However, other recent comments from Pence – including his victory lap during Friday’s press conference on the amount of medical care and equipment procured by the administration – contrasted with the alarm bells raised by the best health officials last week.
“There are more cases. There are more hospitalizations in some of these places and you will soon see more deaths, ”said Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the health experts at the White House Coronavirus Task Force, during the Task Force briefing while Pence watched quietly.
“The window closes,” added HHS secretary Alex Azar during a Sunday morning appearance at NBC. “We have to act, and people as individuals have to act responsibly.”
Azar’s comments previewed the sharper tone he and Pence have taken in the past 48 hours, when more than a dozen states are facing alarming waves in confirmed Covid-19 cases, overwhelming hospitals and putting some communities back into the Blocking residents and business owners could fall I hope to avoid being afraid.
Six states – Texas, Florida, Idaho, Tennessee, Utah and Georgia – reported their highest single-day numbers of new coronavirus cases on Saturday, a development Abbott described in his state as “a very dangerous turnaround.”
The best representatives of the White House continue to disagree on the best course of action as the rate of new infections increases in states in the United States. Some officials, including health workers, believe that the government needs to provide Americans with more regular information on best practices, such as safe Covid-19 Americans, as well as ongoing updates on new infections. Other helpers firmly believe that the White House should push its economic message regardless of the virus. This White House faction doesn’t want regular information about the state of Covid-19 or too many public appearances by officials like Fauci that could affect the nation’s mood in the coming months.
The sharp rise in infections over the past 48 hours has prompted a number of Republicans to promote the idea of wearing masks in public or putting on face covers themselves.
Pence was wearing a mask on Sunday as he got off the Texas government plane to greet the governor, as did Senator John Cornyn, Coronavirus Response Coordinator at the White House, Dr. Deborah Birx, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, all of whom joined Congress Vice President on his Sunday trip to Texas.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went to the Senate on Monday to say that there should be “no stigma – no – wearing masks when we leave our homes and approach other people.”
“Wearing simple facewear is not about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting everyone we meet, ”said McConnell weeks after Trump mocked his 2020 democratic challenger Joe Biden for wearing a mask outdoors on Memorial Day.
During Penn’s call to governors on Monday, Abbott cited Memorial Day weekend celebrations and his decision to allow bars to reopen as two reasons why Texas has seen exploding cases and hospitalizations in the past three weeks. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey also said that the coronavirus cases in his state were up for the recent surge that began after restaurants, gyms, and non-essential industries got the go-ahead for business resumption in May and early June, slowed down to a crawl.
The waves in the south are causing other states, such as New Jersey, to end their plans to open restaurants in restaurants – a sign of growing concerns that are affecting heads of state across the country just as they hope to leave the crisis behind.
At a Coronavirus Task Force meeting on Friday, President Kellyanne Conway’s advisor, who led the President’s 2016 campaign, told the aides that the government should make its priorities clear to the American public – including ideas on whether this would be for bars in Texas is more important and Florida to reopen this summer or to start school on time in the fall, said a person familiar with the meeting.
Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force spent much of the Monday call with governors who focused on the drivers behind the steep rise in cases, two people familiar with the discussion. Remarkably, earlier layoffs by Pence and others were missing from the conversation, indicating that the increase in cases was largely due to extended testing.
Although Trump continues to maintain increased testing as the main cause of new Covid 19 outbreaks, Pence has come to terms with the fact that testing alone cannot explain the increase in cases over the past week, a person familiar to him think.
In another notable departure from Trump, who pulled the federal task force out of circulation last month to ensure that his reopening message was in the foreground, Pence specifically praised the governors on Monday for issuing new guidelines or their plans stopped for reopening. It was a major break with his previous approval of states that had tried to get their economies back on track.
Fauci, an infectious disease expert who established an ubiquitous on-screen presence in the early days of the pandemic, pointed to the reappearance of Covid-19 to remind that new coronavirus clusters often take two to three weeks to appear can in data.
A senior government official said the Trump campaign had been nervously monitoring data from Oklahoma to see if the president’s rally on June 22, attended by 6,200 people according to local firefighters, took an apparent rise in the next two weeks leads in the surrounding counties.
“There is definitely confirmation that an increase is taking place,” said one of the people familiar with the governors’ call on Monday. This person stated that “for the first time,” government officials have admitted that slow reopening is probably safer than Trump’s quick approach has accepted.
Still, Pence and other senior officials offered a mostly optimistic outlook on the coronavirus crisis, stressed that the nation was better prepared for new outbreaks, and encouraged governors to focus specifically on reminding younger Americans of the risk they were facing for older relatives if they did so could be infected. Azar on the call avoided blaming the reopening itself for the upswing in cases, instead blaming people who did not act responsibly when states loosened their social distance restrictions.
Task Force members were also non-binding in response to Utah Gov’s request. Gary Herbert, Trump should join his vice president to publicly urge Americans to wear face masks to adopt a stronger stance on wearing masks.
The Trump administration is currently reviewing a new round of public health guidelines to determine how states can mitigate the risks of the coronavirus, with a focus on assembly warnings and the need for face coverings, three officials said. These guidelines could be published by July 4thth Holiday weekend Trump is expected to be in South Dakota to attend a fireworks show on Mount Rushmore.
In the meantime, Pence has canceled campaign-related events in Florida and Arizona – two countries where the number of coronavirus cases is increasing rapidly – this week, but is still expected to meet with both governors.
Before traveling to Texas on Sunday, where he spoke with Pro Trump pastor Robert Jeffress at Dallas First Baptist Church and later met with Abbott, Pence organized the press conference last week at which he and Task Force officials held the Americans informed about the resurrecting virus. A person familiar with the matter said Pence had decided to hold a public briefing after weeks of task force meetings behind the scenes after he and several health officials raised concerns that an information gap might have contributed to the surge in coronavirus cases. The task force had suspended its almost daily briefings in early May when Trump and other senior officials urged states to reopen their economies.
But unlike the briefings, where high-ranking business representatives frequently appeared to promote the lifting of bans on non-essential business transactions and to commend the leadership of the president, Friday’s update focused almost exclusively on the recent Covid-19 outbreaks to address and encourage Americans to adopt restraint and social measures. While Pence gave a rosy picture of the progress of the tests and dismissed concerns about the president’s campaign plan, he never intervened when the health officials standing next to him gave sober assessments of the pandemic’s status.