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White House reporters encouraged to stay away due to coronavirus spread

White House reporters encouraged to stay away due to coronavirus spread
Posted at 8:10 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 01:29:36-04

For years, the White House Correspondents Association has pushed for access to the White House grounds for reporters and news media. On Wednesday, the WHCA told its members to stay away.

The White House Correspondents Association’s recommendation came as three of its members are recovering from coronavirus infections. There have also been a number of infections among White House press staffers, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

In response to the cluster of coronavirus cases, the WHCA said that only a handful of journalists should work from the White House grounds. The association says other than reporters working at the White House as part of the “pool” as well as those with enclosed offices should refrain from working inside the White House. Pool correspondents are the small, rotating group of reporters who share reports to the rest of the media.

“We would also strongly encourage all journalists to avoid working from the White House grounds entirely if it can be avoided,” WHCA chair Zeke Miller said.

Miller said that the organization has been pushing for the White House to help with contact tracing.

“We have communicated to the White House that, as a press corps, we would like more information to evaluate our own potential exposure,” Miller said. “We have pressed for them to provide updates on known and suspected infections so that reporters can as soon as possible know if they and their families have been put at risk. The administration, citing privacy concerns, has not provided additional details.”

Miller said that protocols by White House journalists have helped minimize spread of the virus among its members.

“While we are awaiting additional test results for some members, it appears clear that our safe behavior has helped contain this virus,” he said. “We haven’t just been lucky, we have followed science and we have been vigilant.”