President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has contracted coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter, adding to the outbreaks connected to the White House.
Meadows tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, according to one of the people, though it wasn’t clear whether he had developed symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. He informed a close circle of advisers after Tuesday’s election, another person said.
At least four other White House officials have been infected, including Cassidy Hutchinson, one of Meadows’s closest aides. A senior Trump campaign aide, Nick Trainer, is also infected, according to people familiar with the matter.
Meadows and White House spokespeople didn’t respond to multiple emails and phone messages requesting comment. Trainer and campaign spokespeople declined to comment.
The chief of staff has remained involved in Trump’s post-election effort to challenge votes in several states, where the president trails former Vice President Joe Biden, according to one person familiar with the matter.
Some White House aides were aware earlier in the week that Meadows had become infected but were told to keep it quiet, several people said.
Meadows was at the Trump campaign headquarters with the president on Tuesday without a mask, and returned on Wednesday also without a mask, two people familiar with the situation said.
The people familiar with the matter asked not to be identified because the cases had not been announced.
More than three dozen people associated with the president or the White House have been infected by the virus, including the president, his wife, Melania, and his youngest son, Barron. Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and other aides tested positive for the virus late last month, shortly before the election.
Meadows was at Trump’s bedside when the president was hospitalized last month with Covid-19. Like most White House aides and the president himself, Meadows is rarely seen wearing a mask.
Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been rated poorly by most Americans in public opinion surveys, and is seen as a major reason he’s poised to lose re-election to Biden.
More than 126,000 people in the U.S. were infected by the novel coronavirus on Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, a record. About 9.7 million Americans have contracted the virus and at least 236,000 have died.