The White House tested reporters attending the daily briefing on Thursday for the coronavirus as a precaution after a member of the White House press corps experienced symptoms after leaving the building on Tuesday and awaited test results.
Reporters and photographers in the close confines of the West Wing have been taking precautions, leaving many seats in the normally-packed briefing room empty. Some have worn face masks.
The White House medical office takes temperatures of anyone entering the building to try to reduce the risk, and people entering the grounds to meet with President Trump or Vice President Pence are now routinely tested for the virus.
The CDC on Wednesday recommended new guidelines for essential employees who may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus, including having temperatures taken before work, wearing face masks at all times, and practicing social distancing as much as their duties allow.
While the United States is enduring a “very bad week” in the COVID-19 pandemic, officials say that efforts to reduce the amount of physical time spent with people outside of their immediate households, known as social distancing, are working.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force and national expert on infectious diseases, on Thursday said projection for the death toll appear lower than originally projected.
“There are some glimmers of hope,” Fauci said on NBC News’ Today show. “It looks more like the 60,000 [deaths] than the 100,000 to 200,000. But having said that, we better be careful.”
President Trump has said he is eager for the country to return to a degree of normalcy “soon,” and has said he will take recommendations from medical experts to determine exactly when to lift federal social distancing guidelines that have kept many people away from work and schools closed.