Photo taken on March 27, 2020 shows the White House in Washington D.C., the United States. (Photo: Xinhua)
Experts said the real situation in the White House could be worse than what has been reported, warning that "fake calmness" would worsen the epidemic and spark political chaos.
The "fake calmness" of US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who refuse to quarantine despite their infected close contacts, could spark political uproar in the US if both are infected and become incapacitated, experts said.
Reuters reported on Monday that the Trump administration has no plan to keep Trump and Pence separated despite looming concerns of virus spread in the White House. Trump still didn't wear a face mask at a visit to a mask factory on Thursday. He was accused of setting a bad example.
A personal valet of Trump tested positive on Thursday. Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, also the wife of Trump's senior adviser, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, media reported.
Many senior officials at the White House said they were "scared to go to work," as the coronavirus is "already spreading rapidly," New York Times reported on Sunday.
Analysts reached by the Global Times on Monday believe that the real situation in the White House is much worse than what has been reported.
"Given the strong infectiousness of the virus and the White House's lax measures, the real situation there is probably devastating," said Ni Feng, director of the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
He noted that Trump's contrived calmness was intended to prevent the public from losing faith in his government, so he has to show toughness in the US, a country which worships heroism. However, Trump's whitewashing and loose measures would only endanger his and other staff members' health in the White House and further worsen the domestic epidemic.
If Trump and Pence fall seriously ill and cannot perform their duties, Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat House of Representatives Speaker, would be the next in line as provided by the US Presidential Succession Act, analysts said.
Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies, told the Global Times on Monday that although Pence could name a new Vice President to snub Pelosi, the US would be in a mess due to the escalating partisan tensions and internal unrest.
The chaos in the White House will then put pressure on state governments tired of fighting in the frontline against the epidemic, Liu noted.