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White House makes random coronavirus testing mandatory for staff

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Washington — The White House is conducting mandatory random COVID-19 testing for employees, according to a notice described by a staffer. Employees received an email Monday morning notifying them of the required testing.

Random testing has already been taking place for staffers at the White House complex, the person explained, but "today's announcement makes it mandatory if you've been selected."

It's unclear how the mandate might be enforced, but the email said that "failure to report to testing will be considered a refusal to test."

Politico first reported that the random testing is mandatory.

Such mandatory random testing does not apply to the White House press corps, many of whom attend briefings with the president without even a temperature check. 

The president and vice president are tested for the virus regularly, as are those who work closely with them. 

The White House testing policy highlights the disparity between the speed and availability for those who work in the White House, and the rest of the country. Lags in testing times mean many Americans wait for more than a week to get results back.

The president has also downplayed the value of testing as a tool to fight the virus, incorrectly claiming the U.S. has so many cases because it conducts more tests, not because the virus is so widespread and prevalent.

Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

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