Pence, second lady test negative for COVID-19 after staffer diagnosed

Posted at 10:46 AM, Mar 21, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Mike Pence and his wife’s COVID-19 tests came back negative, according to his press secretary.

Pence announced during Saturday's task force briefing that he and the second lady were being tested for the coronavirus after one of the vice president's staff members tested positive for the virus.

Watch the task force briefing below:

Pence says the staffer was last at the White House on Monday but didn’t come in direct contact with him or President Donald Trump. The staffer had “mild cold symptoms,” but “he’s doing well,” Pence said.

The vice president said we’re in day six of the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” program. Dr. Anthony Fauci said the administration’s efforts to contain the spread are working but Americans need to continue following the 15-day guidelines. Click here to learn about the recommendations.

Pence also said that 195,000 Americans who are symptomatic have now been tested as coronavirus testing ramps up across the United States. Of those tested, he said 19,343 have been diagnosed with the virus.

As of Saturday morning, a tally by Johns Hopkins University shows that more than 19,900 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S., with at least 275 deaths associated with the virus. Over half of the states in the country and Washington D.C. have now reported at least one death from the respiratory illness.

A growing number of states are issuing some form of state-at-home order to help stop the spread of the virus, including California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois.

The U.S. has also closed its borders to nonessential travelers from Canada and Mexico starting at midnight on Saturday.

This weekend, the Senate plans to work on an economic stabilization package that is expected to cost more than $1 trillion. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing direct payments of $1,200 per person and $2,400 for couples amid the pandemic. Some Democrats say that’s not enough.

During Saturday’s briefing, Trump said he believes congressional leaders are “getting very close” to reaching a deal on the economic recovery package to address the impacts of the virus.

"We’re getting along with Republicans and Democrats and independents and liberals and conservatives and actually it’s a very nice thing to see," said Trump.

McConnell has begun clearing procedural hurdles in order to vote on the Senate package on Monday.

Worldwide, Johns Hopkins says more than 280,000 cases have been confirmed, with at least 11,800 deaths. This week, Italy surpassed China in the most deaths from COVID-19. Italian officials said Saturday that the country now counts 53,578 known cases.

Click here to learn more about the coronavirus and how you can help stop its spread.