President Donald Trump’s ongoing factory visits could put workers' health at risk and could also place a monetary burden on local cities already facing a financial crunch during the coronavirus pandemic.
NBC News reports that even with added precautions in place, Trump’s factory tours could cause COVID-19 to spread.
“The White House is a potential hot zone for COVID — aides and valets close to the president are diagnosing positive," Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert told the network. "If I'm a factory owner, do I really want a large group of visitors from the West Wing visiting me now under these circumstances, just to snap a few pictures? No.”
The White House said anyone who meets the president is required to take a rapid coronavirus test. But the accuracy of those tests is not guaranteed. Trump also opts out of wearing a mask during factory tours.
Johanna Maska, who was the White House's director of press advance during President Barack Obama's administration, called Trump's recent trips "extraordinarily risky.”
"Every time they put him on the road they're sending people from Washington, D.C., a place that's not experiencing a decrease [in coronavirus cases] yet," Maska said.
One Pennsylvania factory asked Trump not to come because workers spent nearly a month living in the facility to keep work flowing and prevent the virus from spreading.
In a time where nonessential travel is not advised, Trump’s visits mean hundreds of advisers, security staff, journalists and other administration members are traveling, staying at hotels and dining out at restaurants.
And once the Trump team arrives, the local government is on the hook for covering the cost of certain items related to his visit. Many municipalities are facing budget shortfalls due to shutdowns from the virus.
"The impact is real and costly. This is one of the chief reasons presidents consider the timing of a visit to a disaster area, as security and other resources will almost certainly need to be siphoned away from disaster work to support the visit. Airports, roads and event sites all require local resources," Jenkins said.
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