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White House staff no longer tested for Covid-19 daily

White House spokesperson Kevin Munoz said in a statement to CNN that the White House “maintains strong Covid-19-related protocols in order to create a safe workplace for its employees,” such as mandatory mask wearing, social distancing and “regular testing.”

“Our testing protocol is informed by a range of factors, including an employee’s vaccination status, and is only one of a host of measures in place to mitigate risk in the workplace,” Munoz said.

Prior to the change, only those who were coming in contact with a top leader — such as President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris or other senior level staff — were getting tested daily. If a staff member was not going to be in contact with those people, they already were not being tested daily.

News of the testing changes was first reported by Axios.
The Biden administration has made significant changes from the White House protocols under former President Donald Trump, who during his time in office long dismissed the gravity of the virus and eschewed practices like social distancing and mask wearing.

Masks were mandated, Covid-19 testing was expanded and room capacity measures were put in place. Zeke Miller, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said in January that “things are different” at the White House now that Biden has taken charge, adding that “all of those things make that workplace a little bit safer.”

The situation at the White House is reflective of the state of the pandemic in the country at-large as many states and cities relax some Covid protocols. However, concerns remain over the potential for a new spike due to variants of the virus.

The number of daily coronavirus cases continues to decline and more than 2 million Americans are now being vaccinated daily, but — from a policy standpoint — the White House Covid-19 response team has been preparing for the worst. The White House is racing to prevent and prepare for a potential fourth coronavirus surge as the more transmissible coronavirus variants spread across the US.

The administration is investing billions of dollars to boost coronavirus preparedness, accelerating the pace of vaccinations and working to prepare the public and governors for the prospect of another surge. Officials have been combing through data to plot the virus’ trajectory, mapping out different scenarios and drawing up plans for how the federal government would snap into action.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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