President Donald Trump this week overrode a recommendation from health officials that elderly people and those who are “physically fragile” not fly on commercial airplanes, an unnamed official with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
Citing the White House official, the AP reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) submitted a plan this week with the recommendation as a way to control the spread of the virus. However, Trump ordered that particular provision of the plan be removed.
The official in question spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak about the matter.
The federal official’s revelation comes as the disease continues to spread across the country, with cases now confirmed in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
The news also comes as Vice President Pence on Saturday spoke after meeting with representatives from the cruise ship industry, a section of the travel industry that has been in the news most recently due to the outbreak.
Pence was assigned to lead of the administration’s coronavirus task force and is in charge of messaging and media relations concerning the status of the virus response.