Data obtained by a government watchdog show that nearly 900 US Secret Service employees have been infected by the coronavirus between March 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Washington (CREW) said Secret Service records revealed that more than 11% of its employees tested positive despite a proactive testing program.

According to the Associated Press, the records were received through a Freedom of Information Act request, however these did not include the names of those who tested positive and their assigned posts at the time. But, the data showed that 477 personnel were detailed in the special agent division. These are the men and women mainly responsible for protecting both the president and vice president along with their families, as well as providing security for other government officials.

Secret Service spokesperson Justine Whelan said they provided and administered more than 25,000 tests for agency staff and employees. But in light of these numbers, she cited possible reasons that may have played a big role in 881 personnel contracting the virus.

“The Secret Service’s essential law enforcement mission required agency employees to remain in continuous contact with the public during the pandemic,” Whelan said. “Now and throughout the pandemic, the Secret Service was fully prepared and staffed to successfully meet these challenges,” she added. 

In its findings, CREW noted that it was during the Trump administration that may have possibly exposed Secret Service workers to the virus. However, it is unclear if there is a direct connection to infections as the identities of the staff remains confidential.

Noting that former President Donald Trump contracted Covid-19 during his term, the risks of exposure of Secret Service personnel could not be discounted as it was known that Trump took a drive in his presidential vehicle with Secret Service agents by his side. He even posed for a photo-op in a car with Secret Service agents while he was being treated for Covid-19. 

He had been in the forefront of multiple large rallies and events, including  the time when Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court. Despite the government implementing restrictions on public gatherings, Trump was unfazed and continued to be in attendance at these events.

CREW also cited that Trump, as well as his adult children's constant visits to Trump properties had stretched the agency thin with the pandemic raging during his campaign. The watchdog organization said the former president may have put the lives of Secret Service agents at risk in order to portray himself as tougher than the coronavirus.

On record, the Secret Service has in its fold, approximately 3,200 special agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division officers, and more than 2,000 personnel assigned to technical, professional and administrative support duties.

Trump escorted by the Secret Service US President Donald Trump walks back to the White House escorted by the Secret Service after appearing outside of St John's Episcopal church across Lafayette Park in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020. - US President Donald Trump was due to make a televised address to the nation on Monday after days of anti-racism protests against police brutality that have erupted into violence. The White House announced that the president would make remarks imminently after he has been criticized for not publicly addressing in the crisis in recent days. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images