Pence says he and his wife will be tested for coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that he and his wife will be tested for the coronavirus, after a staffer in his office tested positive for the virus. Pence made the announcement during the daily briefing by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, who are charged with leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pence said that he had not been in contact with the staffer and was showing no symptoms, but would take the test out of an abundance of caution.

Meanwhile, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, senators are working to craft an economic stimulus package that will likely cost upward of $1 trillion and may include direct cash rebates to many Americans. A Republican leadership aide told CBS News late Friday that the bipartisan groups of senators working on the legislation “have made significant progress and will continue to work through the night.” Lawmakers are expected to continue negotiations on Saturday.

President Trump listens to Vice President Mike Pence speak during a briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on March 21, 2020 in Washington, D.C. TASOS KATOPODIS / Getty Images

Mr. Trump said during the briefing Saturday that there was “great national solidarity,” and commended Democrats and Republicans in Congress for “getting along.”

“They’re all negotiating and everyone’s working hard and they want to get too a solution that’s the right solution,” Mr. Trump said about members of Congress.

Pence said during the briefing that the White House hoped both houses of Congress would pass the legislation on Monday.

There have been more than 19,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 260 people have died.

During the task force briefing on Friday, reporters asked about the possibility that a malaria drug could be used to treat coronavirus. Evidence that the drug will work as an effective treatment for COVID-19 is “anecdotal” and needs more research, leading infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said, after Mr. Trump expressed optimism that the drug could provide a solution.  

On Saturday, Mr. Trump again touted what “possibly” may be “very successful” medicines to help those with coronavirus, without going into specifics. He said he feels “very good” and “very confident” about the use of the malaria drug to perhaps treat coronavirus.

“Right now, this to me, would be the greatest thing that could happen. This would be a gift from heaven. This would be a gift from God if it works,” Mr. Trump said.

Grace Segers and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

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