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When Vice President Mike Pence visited Florida for a fundraiser just days after he was named the nation’s point person on coronavirus, he met 44 students from the Sarasota Military Academy.
Now one of those students’ classmates is under a self quarantine because he was possibly exposed to coronavirus. According to a leader at the school, Pence’s office has reached out to ask: Could the vice president also have come into contact with the illness?
Christina Bowman, the executive director of Sarasota Military Academy schools, said the student was not at the event. But could any of the students in attendance have also been around the boy?
“Students are on campus, so...” she said, pausing. “If you are asking me, I can’t divulge any protected information about any student who may have been in class with the student in question.”
Both the student and his mother are in isolation. Neither have been diagnosed with coronavirus. The student’s mother may have come into contact with the virus at work; a man in his 60s in Manatee County was in the hospital for five days before he was tested and eventually diagnosed with the disease.
A spokeswoman from the White House could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
A reporter asked Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news conference in Miami on Monday whether Pence was exposed on his visit to Sarasota. The vice president was in town for a fundraiser at Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s house. DeSantis appeared surprised at the question and chuckled.
“No I don’t think so,” he said.
In general, DeSantis has said, younger people tend to fare better with the virus than older people or those with pre-existing medical issues, who are more susceptible to severe symptoms. Those who are in direct contact with a person diagnosed with the disease are in the greatest danger of falling ill. Doctors in Florida have emphasized that the risk to the general public remains low.
Coronavirus is primarily spread through person-to-person contact. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it may also be spread if someone touches a surface with the virus, then touches their mouth, nose or potentially eyes, but that is not thought to be the main means of transmission.
Bowman said Pence shook some of the cadets’ hands last week.
She said the school has not canceled classes or instructed any other students to stay home.
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