11 positive coronavirus cases related to set up, planning of presidential debate

Senior White House official says masks are "personal choice," not mandatory.
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Cleveland officials say they’re aware of 11 positive coronavirus cases related to the setup and planning for Tuesday’s presidential debate.

The city said in a statement Friday that it’s working with state and federal officials and is involved with interviewing those who tested positive.

Earlier Friday, President Donald Trump announced that he and the first lady had tested positive for COVID-19. Both traveled to Cleveland on Tuesday for the first presidential debate of the campaign. It's unclear where they contracted the virus.

Cleveland officials say most of the cases stemming from the pre-debate planning and setup involved people from out of state. They say health officials are now looking into their travels.

A senior White House official said Friday that masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, describing facial coverings as “a personal choice,” despite overwhelming evidence that they help to stop the spread.

And the White House is not planning to move to a different, more reliable testing system after the one it uses failed to detect that adviser Hope Hicks had the virus the day she began experiencing symptoms.

The president, his White House and his campaign have generally taken a lax approach to the pandemic, continuing to hold large events and failing to abide by social distancing recommendations.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House thinking, defended the current system.