This time, Pence wears mask as he tours Kokomo GM plant

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a visit to the General Motors/Ventec ventilator production facility with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb in Kokomo, Ind., Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Vice President Mike Pence, like other senior White House staff, is tested for the virus at least once a week.

Posted: Apr 30, 2020 3:19 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2020 3:29 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — This time, he wore a mask.

Vice President Mike Pence donned a face covering Thursday as he toured a General Motors/Ventec ventilator production facility in Indiana after coming under fire for failing to wear one earlier this week in violation of Mayo Clinic policy.

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Pence on toured the General Motors facility in Kokomo, which had been closed due to the coronavirus and was brought back online in mid-April to produce critical care ventilators for hospitals around the country.

The transformed facility has already manufactured hundreds of the units, including some that were sent to hospitals in Gary, Indiana that were struggling with supply.

General Motors requires workers to wear surgical masks at the Kokomo facility except when they are eating lunch, United Auto Workers spokesman Brian Rothenberg said.

Pence’s visit to the facility came hours after his wife, Karen Pence, defended her husband’s decision to not wear a mask during a Tuesday visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, telling Fox News Channel that he had been unaware of the hospital’s coronavirus policy until after he left.

Mrs. Pence said the vice president has been following the advice of medical experts and hadn’t intended to offend anyone.

Pence, like other senior White House staff, is tested for the virus at least once a week.

“As our medical experts have told us, wearing a mask prevents you from spreading the disease. And knowing that he doesn’t have COVID-19, he didn’t wear one,” Mrs. Pence said, adding that it “was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask.”

“So, you know, someone who’s worked on this whole task force for over two months is not someone who would have done anything to offend anyone or hurt anyone or scare anyone,” she said.

The Mayo Clinic had tweeted — then deleted — that it had informed the vice president of its “masking policy prior to his arrival.”

“Mayo shared the masking policy with the VP’s office,” the health care system later said in its response.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in supermarkets, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Footage of Pence’s tour of the Mayo Clinic showed him bare-faced as he met with an employee who had recovered from the virus, even though everyone else in the room appeared to be wearing one.

He also participated in a roundtable discussion on Mayo’s coronavirus testing and research programs during which all of the other participants including Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn, top Mayo officials, Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, donned face coverings.

Pence explained his decision that day by stressing that he has been frequently tested for the virus.

“As vice president of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” Pence said. “And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say ‘thank you.’”

But even with a mask, Pence would have been able to look health care workers in the eye because one only covers the nose and mouth.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed discomfort about mask-wearing, saying he did not intend to wear one when the CDC’s recommendations were unveiled.

And most senior staff have followed his lead, at least when they’re in the White House.

People who enter the White House complex have their temperature taken, and those who will be in close proximity to the president and the vice president are given rapid COVID-19 tests to ensure they’re not infectious.

Senior staff also are given tests on a rolling basis, so that infections are quickly detected.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

The virus has now infected more than 1 million people in the United States, and more than 60,000 have died, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 707111

Reported Deaths: 13216
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion963501718
Lake51613944
Allen39106671
Hamilton34449405
St. Joseph33979539
Elkhart27255432
Vanderburgh22060394
Tippecanoe21765212
Porter17945298
Johnson17507374
Hendricks16786310
Clark12681190
Madison12338337
Vigo12204244
Monroe11443166
LaPorte11118204
Delaware10341184
Howard9652211
Kosciusko9114114
Hancock7964139
Bartholomew7880155
Warrick7681155
Floyd7555176
Wayne6895198
Grant6837171
Boone6541100
Morgan6390138
Dubois6079117
Marshall5779108
Dearborn569876
Cass5683102
Henry5572100
Noble540683
Jackson493069
Shelby478495
Lawrence4338118
Gibson427989
Harrison427670
Clinton418653
Montgomery417786
DeKalb409184
Huntington378680
Whitley377939
Miami372465
Knox365989
Steuben364457
Putnam352560
Jasper350146
Wabash347678
Adams337952
Ripley334568
Jefferson312980
White308154
Daviess289299
Wells286281
Decatur278792
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268533
Scott261053
Clay253244
LaGrange252470
Randolph235280
Washington230731
Spencer227631
Jennings224747
Fountain208445
Sullivan207742
Starke203952
Owen192156
Fulton191439
Jay186029
Carroll185720
Perry180236
Orange177253
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130234
Pulaski113645
Newton103534
Brown100040
Crawford97614
Benton96713
Martin82615
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1052099

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1221671356
Cuyahoga1070432069
Hamilton781801168
Montgomery50040996
Summit45383909
Lucas40122765
Butler37721570
Stark31437895
Lorain24166473
Warren23885293
Mahoning20905583
Lake20009362
Clermont19441229
Delaware18038130
Licking16124207
Fairfield15708197
Trumbull15585460
Medina14868259
Greene14668236
Clark13634293
Wood12767185
Portage12384196
Allen11328229
Richland11041198
Miami10536214
Muskingum8706127
Wayne8576209
Columbiana8546226
Pickaway8436121
Marion8377135
Tuscarawas8376240
Erie7566154
Hancock6714123
Ross6699146
Geauga6537146
Ashtabula6495165
Scioto6289101
Belmont5626158
Union557647
Lawrence5467102
Jefferson5324147
Huron5307114
Darke5273121
Sandusky5174120
Seneca5124120
Washington5076107
Athens501556
Auglaize475684
Mercer471684
Shelby456090
Knox4387108
Madison422859
Putnam421599
Ashland413188
Fulton409467
Defiance402596
Crawford3872101
Brown386455
Logan372976
Preble370398
Clinton361560
Ottawa356978
Highland347059
Williams326774
Champaign320657
Jackson308451
Guernsey306649
Perry289949
Fayette277848
Morrow275339
Hardin264264
Henry263766
Coshocton259457
Holmes253399
Van Wert239162
Gallia233346
Pike233331
Adams228552
Wyandot227253
Hocking209059
Carroll189247
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105336
Vinton81514
Unassigned02
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