Trump coronavirus fears: White House staff don face masks as valet tests COVID-19 positive

Mr Trump said staff who serve food had already begun to cover their faces as a result of the health alert. Officials said Mr Trump and Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus and were feeling well after the staffer – a US military service member who works at the White House as a valet – came down with the virus. They also said the two leaders would now be tested daily instead of weekly.

When asked about his staff wearing face masks, Mr Trump told “Fox and Friends” morning programme: “They’ve already started.”

Mr Trump has said he would not wear a mask and has not publicly worn a mask to any of his events so far amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he told reporters this week that he tried some on behind the scenes during his visit to a Honeywell face mask factory in Arizona.

He later attended a public event at the World War Two memorial before meeting with Republican members of Congress at the White House.

The President told Fox News he has not yet been tested for antibodies to coronavirus but probably would be soon. Such a test could confirm previous exposure to the virus.

The US economy lost a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, the steepest plunge in payrolls since the Great Depression and the starkest sign yet of how the coronavirus pandemic is battering the world’s biggest economy.The Labour Department’s closely watched monthly employment report also showed the unemployment rate surging to 14.7 percent last month, shattering the post-World War Two record of 10.8 percent touched in November 1982.

The bleak numbers strengthen analysts’ expectations of a slow recovery from the recession caused by the pandemic, adding to a pile of dismal data on consumer spending, business investment, trade, productivity and the housing market.

The report underscores the devastation unleashed by lockdowns imposed by states and local governments in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

The economic crisis spells trouble for Mr Trump’s bid for a second term in the White House in November’s election.

The President is eager to reopen the economy, despite a continued rise in COVID-19 infections and dire projections of deaths.

Economists say the economy entered recession in late March, when nearly the whole country went into COVID-19 lockdowns.

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