White House Flouts Masks In Heroic Attempt to Induce Coronavirus Superspread

Illustration for article titled White House Flouts Masks In Heroic Attempt to Induce Coronavirus Superspread
Image: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)
Barf BagWelcome to Barf Bag, a daily politics roundup to help you sort through the chaotic Trumpian news cycle.

It’s been 24 hours after President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for covid-19, and the administration is already showing its ass.

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The president was transported to Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Friday afternoon, in what aides assure is simply a preliminary move, but sounds severe when considering Trump’s tendency to regard illness as a weakness. Yet despite the recent covid-19 diagnoses that have rocked Trump world, nobody will be required to wear masks inside the White House, the Associated Press reports 

A senior White House official said Friday that masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, describing facial coverings as “a personal choice,” despite overwhelming evidence that they help to stop the spread.

And the White House is not planning to move to a different, more reliable testing system after the one it uses failed to detect that adviser Hope Hicks had the virus the day she began experiencing symptoms.

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Multiple studies have shown that wearing a protective mask helps prevent the spread of covid-19, a fact that President Trump has largely disregarded; he has mocked Joe Biden for his standard mask-wearing habits, called a reporter who wore a mask “politically correct,” and, during a recent town hall, claimed that he’s unsure of how good masks are and claimed that waiters hate them.

Meanwhile, on Friday three White House reporters tested positive for covid-19, and who knows how many White House maids, butlers, and service workers will have to be subjected to the viral loads of those in Trump’s employ who are happily cavalier about the virus. If there’s anyone to offer luck to, it’s them.


President Trump is experiencing “mild” covid-19 symptoms following his positive diagnosis and will reportedly undergo an experimental treatment. According to a memo from Trump’s physician, the president has “received a single eight-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibodies.” This treatment is still in a clinical trial and is recommended for early intervention of mild to moderate cases of covid-19.

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But because Regeneron’s drug is still under clinical trial, they can grant access to the medication via “compassionate use.” In other words, according to the New York Times, the drug is available by request “if all other options have failed and a patient might die without trying the drug.”

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This doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump is on death’s door. It could simply underscores that, as president, he can operate as an exception to the rule and access whatever treatment he wants. But his transfer to Walter Reed certainly presents more questions than answers.

Either way, it looks like hydroxychloroquine was left on read.


  • White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claims Trump is working hard at the moment, which I, for one, doubt:
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  • Fox News’s Chris Wallace is fed the fuck up and spilling every ounce of musty Trump tea he has, including a claim that Trump arrived too late to the venue of the first presidential debate to receive a test:
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  • Rep. Ilhan Omar has some things to say about Trump’s covid-19 diagnosis:
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  • Hmmm...
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  • Notre Dame’s president Father John Jenkins has tested positive for covid-19 after attending a White House gathering featuring Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett. Jenkins was criticized for not wearing a mask at the event, and... it gets worse from there!
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  • Just a little light Jared Kushner’s real estate corruption news. [ProPublica]
  • In case your brain isn’t mushy enough today, enter the weekend with this gem:

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.

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DISCUSSION

Giving an experimental drug whose trial could only report results of 270 or so of 1000 patients to the President of the United States is a massive deal.  It shows only “promising” results in people that were not already hospitalized.  There is a substantial amount that we are not being told here.