Fox News' Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: Report

Fox News anchors Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier, pictured in March with Donald Trump, have been asked to quarantine, according to a New York Times report.

The Fox News president and several on-air personalities have been advised to quarantine after sharing a private plane with someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Chief political anchor Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum of “The Story” and “The Five” hosts Dana Perino and Juan Williams were exposed, along with Fox News President Jay Wallace, the Times noted, citing sources “with direct knowledge of the situation.”

The infected passenger shared a charter flight with executives, reporters and other crew from the conservative news channel to New York from Nashville, Tennessee, after last week’s presidential debate.

The anchors are “expected” to broadcast from home for now, according to the report.

Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first debate, was among several network employees who were tested for COVID-19 after President Donald Trump contracted the virus, The Hill noted.

Baier and MacCallum are scheduled to lead the channel’s election night coverage from its Manhattan headquarters, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Even as the coronavirus death toll has topped 225,000, Fox News coverage has mostly remained in lockstep with Trump downplaying the pandemic, questioning infectious disease experts, and discounting health precautions like mask-wearing.

A network spokesperson told HuffPost that Fox News would not confirm any details of the exposure due to privacy concerns.

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Obama Slams Trump's Pandemic Response: 'He Can't Even Take Basic Steps to Protect Himself' from COVID-19

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a drive-in rally for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden

"He doesn't even acknowledge that there's a problem," Barack Obama said of President Donald's Trump response to the coronavirus pandemic

Former President Barack Obama is slamming Donald Trump for his response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, asserting that his successor is not going to "suddenly protect all of us" when he isn't taking the "basic steps" of COVID protection himself.

During the drive-in rally for Democratic nominee and his former vice president Joe Biden at the Florida International University campus in Biscayne, Obama spoke out against the way Trump has been handling the pandemic, telling voters that because of the president's actions — or lack thereof — "the rest of us have to live with the consequences."

"Eight months into this pandemic, eight months into this pandemic, new cases are breaking records," Obama, 59, explained. "Donald Trump isn't going to suddenly protect all of us. He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself."

Trump was hospitalized with the virus earlier this month and received a mix of steroids, antivirals and experimental antibody treatments. He has frequently shown his disdain for wearing masks, either by not complying or mocking them.

"There's no sense that he's coming up with a new approach, with a new plan. He doesn't even acknowledge that there's a problem," Obama continued. "Just this week, he complained that the pandemic was making him go back to work. If he had been working in the first place, we never would have seen the situation get this bad."

During his speech, Obama continued to stress that Trump, 74, "doesn't have a plan" to combat the virus, and "doesn't take responsibility for what's happening across the country."

The former president also reacted to Trump's recent 60 Minutes interview which he "cut short," complaining on Twitter that the questions from CBS News' correspondent Lesley Stahl were “biased” after he was asked about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, his inflammatory rhetoric towards Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, his decision to promote unsafe public gatherings at his campaign rallies amid the pandemic, as well as his attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading health official on infectious disease.

During the Miami event, Obama said Trump's refusal to answer certain questions should be something of concern for voters. "Listen, Miami, if he can’t answer a tough question like ‘what would you like to do in your second term,’ then it’s up to us to see he doesn’t get a second term," Obama said.

Earlier this week, on Wednesday, Obama gave another scathing takedown of Trump during a rare in-person campaign appearance in Philadelphia.

In his speech, the Democrat again derided Trump for his response to the pandemic, which has so far led to the deaths of more than 220,000 Americans, according to a New York Times tracker.

"Presidents up for re-election usually ask if the country is better off than it was four years ago," Obama said. "I’ll tell you one thing: Four years ago you’d be tailgating here at the Lincoln instead of watching a speech from your cars."

"Right now as we speak, Trump won’t even extend relief to the millions of families who are having trouble paying the rent or putting food on the table because of this pandemic," he added, referring to the ongoing negotiations between Congress and the White House over coronavirus stimulus.

Speaking less than two weeks before the Nov. 3 election, Obama urged voters to back Biden's campaign and to not grow complacent based on poll numbers that show the Democratic presidential nominee leading Trump.

The former president didn't hold back when discussing the pandemic, tearing into Trump for recent remarks in which Trump said he had few regrets in terms of responding to the virus.

"Just yesterday, when asked if he’d do anything differently, Trump said, 'Not much.' Really? Not much?" Obama said. "Nothing you can think of that could have helped some people keep their loved ones alive? So, Joe’s not going to screw up testing. He’s not going to call scientists idiots. He’s not going to host a super spreader event at the White House."

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Texas governor requests use of El Paso-area military hospital for non-COVID-19 patients as cases surge

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appears in this undated file image. Abbott won his re-election bid on November 6, 2018. (Spectrum News/FILE)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Saturday requested to use a medical center at Fort Bliss for non-COVID-19 patients as coronavirus cases surge in the El Paso area. The request comes as COVID-19 cases have been increasing throughout Texas and the country.

Abbott said Saturday that he had spoken to Dr. Robert Kadiec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to request use of William Beaumont Army Medical Center to free up beds at the region's hospitals, according to CBS El Paso affiliate KDBC.

El Paso officials said 1,216 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday, for a total of 10,911 active cases and 38,554 cumulative cases.

El Paso officials said Saturday one person died, a woman in her 40s with underlying health conditions. There have been 572 deaths in El Paso due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. 

As of Saturday, there were 715 people hospitalized in El Paso County due to COVID-19, including 199 in intensive care and 85 on ventilators.

US-TEXAS-HEALTH-VIRUS-ECONOMY
Cars line up for Covid-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso on October 23, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. PHOTO BY PAUL RATJE / AFP) (PHOTO BY PAUL RATJE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Abbott announced earlier this week that he would be sending more than 450 medical personnel to the El Paso area. He also said he will be sending extra equipment including ambulances, patient monitors, patient beds and oxygen concentrators.

"The medical personnel and supplies we are deploying to El Paso build upon the resources the state previously sent to the community and will provide much needed support to area hospitals and first responders," Abbott said in a statement. "The State of Texas will continue to work with local officials to protect public health and help the El Paso community mitigate the spread of COVID-19."  

A report by UT-Austin released Thursday said "the El Paso region has the most threatening projections, with an estimated 85% probability that COVID-19 cases will exceed local hospital capacity by November 8th, 2020."

According to the same report, five other regions have a more than 25% chance of hospitals being overwhelmed with in 3 weeks: Amarillo (28%), Lubbock (29%), Wichita Falls (30%), San Angelo (29%) and Galveston (33%).

The Texas Department of Public Health reported Saturday more than 89,000 active cases of COVID-19 in the state, including more than 6,000 new cases. 

Coronavirus cases nationwide have been rising, with more cases reported on Friday than any other single day since the pandemic began. 

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