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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 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions — Exclusive: Teenagers' mental health claims doubled last spring.
  2. Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans' hopes rise after a year of COVID
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. World: China and Russia vaccinate the world, for now.
  5. Energy: Global carbon emissions rebound to pre-COVID levels.
  6. Local: Florida gets more good vaccine newsMinnesota's hunger problem grows amid pandemic — Denver's fitness industry eyes a pandemic recovery.
Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

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.