More than 130 Secret Service agents who guard the White House and President Donald Trump when he travels have reportedly been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers.
The report of the cases and officers coming in close contact stems from three people familiar with agency staffing who spoke with The Washington Post. As the massive number of Secret Service members affected by the virus was revealed, the nation sits on the heels of another record-breaking day for the virus Thursday. According to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, COVID-19 hospitalizations climbed to 67,096. It was the third day in a row of record numbers.
The spread of the virus, which has decreased the agency’s core security team by 10%, has been linked to several campaign rallies that Trump held in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the situation.
The White House and its staff have been gravely affected by the coronavirus in recent months, with a growing number of officials and affiliates testing positive for the disease. Some of those infected include White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and outside political advisers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said the administration takes “every case seriously.” He referred questions about the Secret Service outbreak to agency officials. A spokeswoman for the Secret Service declined to comment.
The agency is undergoing an examination of whether some of the current infections are not travel-related, one government official said. Earlier this week, agency supervisors told other staff about the large number of officers who have contracted the virus and said there has been expanded testing to help limit the spread, according to people familiar with the situation.
“Being down more than 100 officers is very problematic,” said one former senior Secret Service supervisor. “That does not bode well for White House security.”