White House Chief: "We're not going to control the pandemic"
After a Friday and Saturday in which the U.S. saw back-to-back days of record-high coronavirus cases, Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff, went on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper to state the following: "We're not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations." Read on to hear his explanation, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Why Did Meadows Say We're Not Going to Control the Pandemic?
The subject of containment came up because Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff and four other top aides had become infected with COVID-19, raising questions about precautions in the White House—and why Pence was campaigning for re-election without a mask.
"I spoke to the Vice President last night at midnight and I can tell you that what he is doing is wearing a mask, socially distancing and when he goes up to speak he will take the mask off and put it back on," Meadows said. "He is wearing a mask as it relates to this particular thing because the doctors have advised him to do that."
"I'm not saying he is not campaigning," he continued, "I'm saying that is only part of what he is doing and as we look at that, 'essential personnel,' whether it's the Vice President of the United States or anyone else, has to continue on," he said.
In that spirit, Meadows confirmed what his detractors have accused the White House of all along—that it was not trying hard enough to stop the virus. "What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it's therapies or vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don't die from this," Meadows continued.
"We All Have Control," is the Counter Message
The statement from Meadows drew condemnation, naturally, from Democratic opponent Joe Biden, who called it "an acknowledgment of what President Trump's strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn't, and it won't."
"It's long past time for President Trump and his administration to listen to the scientists, take action, and finally take seriously the threat of a virus that's costing thousands of lives each week, shuttering our schools, and forcing millions of Americans out of work," Biden said.
"I don't know exactly what he meant by that statement. I do think we have some control," Senate Majority Whip John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, said in response to Meadows' Sunday comments. "We all have control, and we all have responsibility as leaders to set an example that consists of doing the right thing to stop the spread. That is encouraging wearing a mask and encouraging social distancing."
President Trump, meanwhile, has yet to comment directly on Meadows' remarks. He did discuss COVID at his weekend rally in North Carolina. "Covid, Covid. Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid," he complained of how much attention the virus gets, comparing it to a hypothetical plane crash: "A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don't talk about it. 'Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid.'" He has said multiple times we are "rounding the turn."
How to Avoid COVID-19
As for yourself, 35 states in America are seeing dramatic rises in cases and, in many, hospitalizations. No matter where you live, wear your face mask, avoid crowded, hang outdoors more than indoor, practice good hand hygiene, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.