Former FDA commissioner describes steps Pence must take to campaign safely after coronavirus exposure

Tim O'Donnell
·2 min read

Vice President Mike Pence will continue to travel and campaign for re-election despite the fact that several close contacts — including his chief of staff, Marc Short, and an unnamed personal aide who accompanies him throughout the day — have tested positive for the coronavirus at various points throughout the week. Pence did test negative for COVID-19 on Sunday morning, but the decision to maintain his schedule has raised eyebrows among the Trump administration's critics, as well as allies like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who recently recovered from his own bout with the virus.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, meanwhile, said that although the short answer is yes, Pence could be putting others at risk by foregoing quarantine, there are ways to handle the situation safely. "I would understand why they wouldn't want to quarantine the vice president," Gottlieb said. "But they need to be very explicit about what they're doing and the risks that they're taking."

Gottlieb said Pence should be wearing an N-95 mask, distancing whenever possible, and getting tested repeatedly. Finally, he suggested the vice president's medical team could at least consider providing him with antibody drugs that are not available to the general public as a preventative method, though that would come with some risk.

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