In this Oct. 30, 2020, photo, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks on a phone on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Meadows has been diagnosed with the coronavirus as the nation sets daily records for confirmed cases for the pandemic. Credit: Patrick Semansky / AP

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told associates he has coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter, adding to the outbreaks connected to the White House.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Meadows learned he had contracted the virus or whether he had developed symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. He informed a close circle of advisers after Tuesday’s election, one of the people said.

Meadows didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. White House spokespeople didn’t respond to numerous emails and phone messages requesting comment.

At least four low-level White House aides and a senior Trump campaign aide, Nick Trainer, are also infected, according to people familiar with the matter. Trainer and campaign spokespeople declined to comment.

Meadows has remained involved in Trump’s postelection effort to challenge votes in several states where he trails former Vice President Joe Biden, according to one person familiar with the matter.

Some White House aides were aware earlier in the week that Meadows had become infected but were told to keep it quiet, several people said.

The chief of staff was at the Trump campaign headquarters with the president on Tuesday without a mask, and returned Wednesday also without a mask, two people familiar with the situation said.

The people familiar with the matter asked not to be identified because the cases had not been announced.

More than three dozen people associated with the president or the White House have been infected by the virus, including the president, his wife, Melania, and his youngest son, Barron. Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and other aides tested positive for the virus late last month, shortly before the election.

Meadows was at Trump’s bedside when the president was hospitalized last month with COVID-19. Like most White House aides and the president himself, Meadows is rarely seen wearing a mask.

Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been rated poorly by most Americans in public opinion surveys, and is seen as a major reason he’s poised to lose reelection to Biden.

More than 126,000 people in the U.S. were infected by the novel coronavirus on Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, a record. About 9.7 million Americans have contracted the virus and at least 236,000 have died.

Story by Jennifer Jacobs, Tyler Pager and Mario Parker

(c)2020 Bloomberg News

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