Former Harris adviser criticizes Whites House COVID-19 procedures

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A former adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign took aim at White House COVID-19 protocols and argued the Trump administration would have faced more criticism over the issue.

“If this were the Trump administration, we would be talking about how they were putting staff and the health of their potentially unvaccinated household members in jeopardy,” said Kavita Patel, one of the architects of the Harris health care plan during her presidential campaign.

Some staffers at the White House have expressed their displeasure over the administration’s COVID-19 procedures, especially the way it has chosen to handle contact tracing and who gets notified of potential exposures, according to reporting from Politico.

The clashes among White House personnel come as the Biden administration has become more heavy-handed in its approach to combating the pandemic, with President Biden last week announcing that all private employers with more than 100 employees would be forced to require vaccination or weekly testing.

But inside the White House staffers are upset about their own policies, including on-site testing policies. Only staffers who have shown symptoms are typically tested for COVID-19, while others have been directed to local testing sites even if they express concern that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Anger has also built around how the White House handles disclosure of breakthrough cases, with some officials not being notified of breakthrough cases even when they work in adjacent offices.

But a White House official has defended the administration’s protocols.

“Our medical unit fields inquiries from many individuals every day and works with each individual to create a custom plan based on the specifics of their situation,” the official said. “White House staff with questions about our testing program are always encouraged to ask them to the operations team.”

The official also defended the administration’s contact tracing notification procedures, arguing the policy helped protect employee privacy.

“Information is shared exclusively with those who may be at risk in order to support individual employee privacy while still effectively keeping all members of our campus community safe,” the official said.

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