The first lady arrived in the main atrium of the hospital wearing a mask. When she sat in front of a tree, she removed the mask. Although she practiced social aloofness, hospital policy specifically requires all visitors to wear a mask.
That includes “wearing a mask when entering a Children’s National building as directed by area officials. This includes all public areas, such as the hallway and cafeteria,” and “wearing a mask whenever you are in the vicinity. are of other individuals “.
The first lady’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on why the first lady took off her mask and whether she received special permission to do so.
Children’s National spokeswoman Diana Troese quoted Washington, DC, health regulations – but not the hospital’s own policies – in response to a request for comment.
“Our first priority at the Children’s National Hospital is the safety of our patients, families and employees. Under DC Health regulations, wearing a mask is not mandatory when a person is speaking to broadcast or an audience, provided that no one be there within six hours of the speaker’s feet, ”she said.
“In the case of today’s visit, which was broadcast to our 325 patients, while the First Lady took off her mask while reading a story, she was more than 10 feet away from others in our large atrium. All the other people in that She wore masks. She wore a mask for the rest of her visit, “added Troese.
But health experts say it’s still unclear how long antibodies provide protection and recommend that you still wear a mask.
“Even though the president himself was infected and he probably has antibodies that would likely be protective, we are not sure how long that protection lasts,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci Tuesday to ABC News.
The event was scaled back significantly from previous visits. Most of the kids watched a live stream read aloud, but Trump arrived with 6-year-old Riley Whitney and 8-year-old Sophia Martinez, who sat on the floor in front of her as she read.
The others in attendance, including some key members of the hospital leadership, wore masks, and some wore protective face or eye protection.
“It’s great to be here. This is one of my favorite events during the holiday season and I’m really looking forward to reading a book,” she said when she arrived.
‘I think about all of you. Stay strong and healthy and have a Merry Christmas and a Merry Christmas, “she said before reading a children’s book,” Oliver the Ornament Meets Marley & Joan and Abbey. ”
Trump took off her mask as she left for Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”.
Later on Tuesday, she took part in a game of holiday-themed bingo. She was on a stage in a studio shouting songs to a microphone, practicing social distance again, but kept her mask on the whole time.