President-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn into office on January 20th, 2021 -- but he could be waiting longer than usual to actually enter the White House after that.
The reason for this, as USA Today reports, is that it is not clear what level of cleaning will need to be performed inside the building, which for months has served as a petri dish in which multiple Trump administration officials -- including President Donald Trump himself -- have been infected with the novel coronavirus.
The threat posed by COVID-19 in the West Wing is only being amplified by the fact that the White House is defying its own coronavirus task force's public safety recommendations by holding massive Christmas parties this month.
"Hundreds of people are expected at the White House for a series of holiday parties and receptions this month, despite an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases across the country," reports USA Today. "No mention was made of whether the White House will undergo a deep cleaning when those events are over, roughly a month before Inauguration Day."
To get an idea of just how long a deep clean of the White House would take, the newspaper spoke with Sheldon Yellen, the CEO of property restoration company Belfor Property Restoration, which has done work during the pandemic in ensuring that buildings are free of disease.
"Workers wearing respirators, gloves, protective suits and other equipment hand-wipe and clean the contaminated area with a professional-grade botanical disinfectant that can kill 99.9% of viruses," writes USA Today, reporting Yellen's description of his company's work. "All surfaces are then sprayed with antimicrobial solutions that prevent any virus from growing for up to 90 days. Industrial hygienists conduct tests to make sure each area has been properly sprayed, and the work is then certified as complete."
"It's a very laborious process," Yellen tells the publication.