United States top health expert Anthony Fauci on Friday said the White House held a “super spreader event” in September, referring to the celebration for President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, BBC reported.
At least 11 people who attended the event on September 26 have since tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump himself contracted the infection last week and is currently recovering.
“The data speak for themselves – we had a super spreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks,” Fauci said in an interview with CBS Radio.
More than 200 people attended the White House event, which included an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception, according to The New York Times. Many attendees tested positive upon arrival, but very few were seen wearing masks.
Fauci stressed on the importance of wearing masks and said that noted experts have been recommending it for the last six months. “Everybody should wear a mask, literally universally,” he said, “as well as keeping distance, avoiding crowds, staying on the outdoors versus indoors, and washing your hands”.
A string of positive cases have come out of the White House recently, including senior advisor Stephen Miller, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, assistant press secretaries Karoline Leavitt and Chad Gilmartin, Trump advisers Hope Hicks and Nicholas Luna among others.
Others close to Trump have also tested positive, including Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, Republican National Convention Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee.
Earlier in the day, the United States Commission on Presidential Debates cancelled the October 15 presidential debate between Trump and Joe Biden after the coronavirus positive president refused to take part in a virtual format.
On October 6, Trump, in a tweet, downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus, comparing it with the flu. Twitter put a warning on the tweet, saying it included potentially misleading information.
The presidential elections will be held on November 3, and results will come in the same day. The United States has been and still remains the worst-hit country by the coronavirus, with 76,59,932 cases and more than 2,13,588 lakh deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.