Some 130 Secret Service officers have been infected with coronavirus, forcing them to isolate and enter quarantine, after coming into contact with other staffers carrying the virus during US President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a Washington Post report on Friday.
According to the report, citing three individuals familiar with the agency’s staffing, part of the reason the Secret Service agents were infected was due to a series of campaign rallies on behalf of Trump held weeks before the election on November 3.
Along with the agency officers and the coronavirus’ general impact on the American populace, numerous White House officials have become sick from the virus, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and political advisers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie.
In addition to White House officials, eight staffers at the Republican National Committee, such as Chief of Staff Richard Walters, have contracted the virus.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said that all questions on the health of Secret Service members should be referred to the agency itself.
As part of Trump’s attempt to garner more support prior to the election, he embarked on an extensive number of campaign rallies that required five separate groups of Secret Service officers that protected and accompanied him at rallies in the US states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The Secret Service is assessing whether a portion of the infections were due to their presence at the White House, the Washington Post added.
“Being down more than 100 officers is very problematic,” said one former senior Secret Service supervisor to the Washington Post. “That does not bode well for White House security.”
As a result of the spread of the coronavirus in the White House, some staffers have expressed concern about returning to work, while numerous aides, low-level assistants and secretaries recently tested positive.
“I’m trying to work from home,” one senior administration official said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not really safe to be in there right now.”