Nearly a dozen members of the U.S. Secret Service protecting the president, the vice president and their families, have been struck by the coronavirus, with several dozen other staff members in self-quarantine.
The Secret Service confirmed in March that a single employee had tested positive for COVID-19. But according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents seen by Yahoo News, and also reported by USA Today, the disease is much more widespread, with 11 active cases at the agency, 23 staff members recovered, and 60 now in self-isolation.
Of the Secret Service’s 7,600 employees, there are 3,000 agents who work closely with those whom they protect. There has been no breakdown of infection numbers and whether they were civilians or agents working closely with U.S. political leaders. Their locations are also not known.
In a statement, Secret Service spokesperson Justine Whelan said: “To protect the privacy of our employee’s health information and for operational security, the Secret Service is not releasing how many of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, nor how many of its employees were, or currently are, quarantined.”
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Secret Service has been working with all of our public safety partners and the White House Medical Unit to ensure the safety and security of both our protected persons and our employees.
“The Secret Service continues to follow guidance issued by the CDC to ensure the health and welfare of our employees and those they come in contact with.” Newsweek has contacted the Secret Service for comment.
The revelation comes amid reports that the disease has crept into to the White House’s inner circle.
On Friday, the wife of senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, press secretary Katie Miller, who is part of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, tested positive for the disease.
The previous day, the White House said Trump’s military valet, who had close personal contact with the president, had also tested positive for the virus.
Neither Trump nor Pence, who are regularly tested for the virus, have tested positive, with the president continuing to attend meetings and events without wearing a face mask. Trump said he would increase the frequency of his weekly testings to daily ones.
Last week, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said that those were working in proximity to the president were being tested for the virus and anyone entering the White House was subjected to temperature checks.
However reporters were brought into the Oval Office last week without masks and without being tested, according to Yahoo News. Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.
The infographic below, provided by Statista, shows the U.S. states with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of May 8.