The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, called a recent White House event a “superspreader.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the event, a Rose Garden announcement from President Trump about his decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, was punctuated by a lack of proper coronavirus precautions.
“We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together, were not wearing masks. So, the data speak for themselves,” Fauci said on CBS News radio Friday about the Sept. 26 event.
The Washington, D.C., Department of Health released a letter Thursday urging attendees at the Rose Garden event to get tested for COVID-19. The event was attended by a number of people within Trump’s orbit. Trump tested positive for COVID-19 a few days after the event, although it is unclear if that is where he first contracted the virus. He returned to the White House on Monday and has since claimed that he feels great.
Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center but was released after three days of treatment. Others who have tested positive since the Rose Garden event include first lady Melania Trump, senior aide Hope Hicks, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Barrett reportedly already had COVID-19 earlier in 2020 and has since recovered. Despite that, she was still tested and had negative results, a White House official told the Washington Examiner after the event.
More than 7.6 million people in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19, and nearly 214,000 have died since the pandemic began.