U.S. Government groans under strain of new virus cases

Four weeks before Election Day, with over 210,000 deaths attributed already to the Coronavirus outbreak, the latest surge in virus cases through the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. is having a major impact on the government of the United States.

At the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs are in quarantine.

At the White House, while President Donald Trump is recovering after a three day hospital stay for the virus, the number of new virus cases among White House staffers continues to grow.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate has postponed legislative work for two weeks after three GOP Senators tested positive.

The U.S. Supreme Court continues to hear cases by telephone.

And thousands of federal workers are either working limited hours in person, or doing their jobs remotely from home.

A day after the President’s Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she had tested positive, there were still no official White House details about how many staffers had been hit by the virus, leaving new information to come from reporters about additional cases.

The new cases reported included the aide who carries the nuclear “football” as the President travels, one of the President’s top aides, Stephen Miller.

At the Pentagon, a positive test involving the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard - who attended a military event at the White House last week where others have turned out positive - caused top brass to quarantine.

Unlike at the White House, where additional spread of the virus has occurred, the Pentagon was not reporting additional cases.

“No Pentagon contacts have exhibited symptoms and we have no additional positive tests to report at this time,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate convened for a quick ‘pro forma’ session on Tuesday, as all legislative business on the floor has been postponed for at least two weeks, after three GOP Senators tested positive for the virus.

Two of the Senators - Mike Lee of Utah, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina - were part of those attending the White House announcement of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on September 26.

On Tuesday, the only Senator in the chamber for the short session of the Senate was the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

While work on the floor has been delayed, confirmation hearings for Barrett are slated to start next Monday, as Republicans will try to finish her nomination before Election Day, as the President on Tuesday urged GOP Senators to make that their focus.

Meanwhile, President Trump was still at the White House on Wednesday, with eight days until the next Presidential debate, but no campaign travel schedule as yet.

“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate," Joe Biden said of the President on Tuesday, after a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Jamie Dupree, CMG Washington News Bureau

Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau


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