Vice President Mike Pence, in an interview last week with "Axios on HBO," didn't embrace the routine wearing of face masks in the White House — even after two West Wing regulars tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: President Trump makes a point of not wearing a mask, and Pence, with the exception of an Indiana trip, has mostly followed suit — even as the White House recommends them for other Americans.

  • In the West Wing on Thursday, and aboard Air Force Two and at two Pence events in Iowa on Friday, few aides were wearing masks, at a time when they’ve become common in America.

What he's saying: During an interview Friday in West Des Moines, the vice president replied when asked about mask use in the White House: "Well, some people do wear masks."

  • "There's a number of people in the White House that have worn masks for some times," he said. "And, you know, many Secret Service personnel will wear masks on campus."
  • "I think we'll listen very carefully to the White House physician's office," Pence added.
  • Asked if he wasn't committing to more masks, the vice president replied, "I'm committing to listen to whatever the White House physician tells us to do."

The state of play: White House policy on masks changed Monday, after last week's revelation that a valet to Trump, as well as Pence press secretary Katie Miller, had tested positive.

  • A White House memo to staff Monday directed "everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask or facial covering."
  • Trump later appeared mask-less in the Rose Garden.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 31,103,347 — Total deaths: 961,435— Total recoveries: 21,281,441Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 6,813,984 — Total deaths: 199,525 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Health: CDC updates guidances to say coronavirus can be spread through the air Nursing homes are evicting unwanted patients.
  4. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right."
  5. Education: College students give failing grade on return to campus.
  6. Business: Unemployment concerns are growing.
  7. World: "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.
Updated 15 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced all domestic pandemic restrictions will be lifted in New Zealand from midnight Monday except in Auckland, where they'll be eased late Wednesday.

The big picture: Ardern delayed the country's election until Oct. 17 as authorities work to stamp out a coronavirus cluster in Auckland, after the re-emergence of COVID-19. There have been single-digit or zero domestic cases in NZ's most populous city since the government reintroduced restrictions.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Aug 20, 2020 - Health

Schools soldier through coronavirus outbreaks

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Only a few weeks into the school year, hundreds of students, teachers and staff across the country have been diagnosed with the coronavirus or sent home to quarantine after being exposed.

Why it matters: For now, most of the affected schools are opting to play coronavirus whack-a-mole, providing a complicated alternative to in-person and virtual learning.