White House virus trouble is microcosm of what America faces

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A member of the U.S. Secret Service, front, stands at her post wearing a mask as other staff member social distance wearing masks, before President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 11, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON – The White House is increasingly looking like an imperfect microcosm of the challenges that all Americans face in keeping the coronavirus at bay as huge swaths of the nation move to reopen.

Two aides who work in the White House complex are known to have tested positive in the past week for the coronavirus despite layers of security there, including access to rapid testing, temperature checks for all who enter and social distancing protocols.

President Donald Trump on Monday told reporters that in terms of testing, “we have met the moment and we have prevailed.” But the ability of the virus to infiltrate the White House underscores the risks for Americans at workplaces, schools and elsewhere.

Lawrence Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University, described the White House as demonstrating the “best” and “worst” of virus mitigation.

“Even with great availability of testing and the presence of the top public health experts in the world, the virus has found its way into the White House,” Gostin said. “What’s worse is they’ve shown the rest of the country the guidelines they want the rest of America to follow, but they are unable to do it themselves.”

Here's a look at some of the ways the White House efforts to stem the virus illustrate the rough road ahead for all Americans as they try to return to work with the virus lurking in the background:

TESTING LIMITS

Throughout the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly boasted that the U.S. has the best testing. That’s true at the White House. Anyone who comes into close contact with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence must take a test before meeting with them.