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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and four other staffers test positive for COVID-19

Mark Meadows on the coronavirus pandemic
Mark Meadows on the coronavirus pandemic 08:35

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for COVID-19, CBS News confirmed on Friday. It's unclear when he was diagnosed. 

Four additional White House staffers, who have not been named, have also tested positive for the virus, CBS News confirmed Saturday. The Trump campaign's director of battleground strategy, Nick Trainer, also tested positive this week, according to a senior Trump campaign official. 

The diagnoses come just over a month after more than two dozen people connected to the White House contracted COVID-19, including President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron. 

Despite the high-profile outbreak at the White House, the campaign continued to hold packed events. Meadows was photographed with Mr. Trump on Election Day at Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

He also greeted crowds of supporters at a Trump rally in Florida Sunday without wearing a mask.

meadows-rally-1.jpg
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows greeting supporters at a Trump rally in Opa-Locka, Florida, on Nov. 1, 2020. Khalil Abdallah//POOL

In the final days of the presidential campaign, a number of people in close contact with Vice President Pence, including his chief of staff and top political adviser, contracted COVID-19, but he maintained his in-person campaign schedule. His office said he was "following CDC guidelines for essential personnel."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in October that he hadn't visited the White House in months because they differ on personal safety measures that should be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"I haven't actually been to the White House since August 6 because my impression was their approach to how to handle this is different from mine, and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,"

In late October, Meadows seemed to confirm McConnell's impression when he told CNN, "We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas."

Weijia Jiang, Nicole Sganga and Fin Gomez contributed reporting.

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