Despite his exposure to a new coronavirus outbreak at the White House, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence returned to the campaign trail in North Carolina on Sunday (October 25).
A spokesman for the vice president said Pence's chief of staff Marc Short tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, and the White House added that multiple senior aides have now also contracted the virus.
But with less than ten days to go before the November 3 election, the White House cited Pence's status as an "essential worker" as justification for his campaign travel.
And on Sunday night Pence made no mention of his own health or his staffers testing positive.
"So this is it North Carolina, we've got nine days to go and we need you to stay in the fight. For a stronger and safer America, stay in the fight."
A spokesman for the vice president said late on Saturday that Pence and his wife had tested negative for the virus.
And White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters that White House doctors had cleared Pence to travel.
But Pence's visit to North Carolina came just as the country broke its daily record for new coronavirus cases over the weekend, meaning the pandemic remains at the front and center of the presidential race.
President Trump and his administration have downplayed the advice of public health experts to wear masks and observe social-distancing guidelines.
Pence is now set to visit Minnesota on Monday, as Trump and Democratic opponent Joe Biden go into their final week of campaigning.