Leading US virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has criticized the White House for hosting a meeting last month linked to a Covid-19 outbreak.
Dr. Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said President Donald Trump’s candidacy in the Supreme Court was a “superspreader event.”
At least 11 people who attended the event on September 26th tested positive.
Mr Trump is recovering from Covid-19 himself.
His doctors just cleared him up for public events less than a month before he ran against Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the presidential election.
Mr Trump has been skeptical of measures like masks and barriers to combat the spread of Covid-19, which killed more than 213,000 people in the United States. He has discussed the prospect of vaccine availability, although researchers say it won’t be likely until next year at the earliest.
Polls suggest that Mr Biden has a single-digit lead over Mr Trump, and an ABC News / Ipsos poll found that only 35% of Americans agreed to Mr Trump’s management of the crisis.
What does Dr. Fauci said?
CBS News asked Friday what Dr. Fauci believes the White House’s reluctance to insist on masking and social distancing as antivirus measures, and relying on regular testing instead.
“The data speaks for itself – we had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were huddled together and not wearing masks.”
An event held at the White House on Saturday, September 26, for the President’s appointment of Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court Justice, is believed to be the root of the localized outbreak.
In addition to President Trump and his wife Melania, two senators, the White House press secretary and former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, were present.
Dr. Fauci also noted that experts have been recommending wearing masks for six months and condemned talk of a “cure” for the coronavirus – a word Mr Trump used regarding the experimental Covid-19 treatments he was given during his had received last stay at a military hospital.
Large gatherings in the U.S. capital are still banned due to Covid-19, but federal properties like the White House are exempt.
Media playback is not supported on your device
Media signatureFour Covid Rules Broken by Trump and the White House
How is Mr. Trump’s health?
Mr Trump, who was released from the hospital after three nights on Monday, was asked about the symptoms he was having in an interview with Fox News on Friday evening.
The president said he did not feel strong but found no trouble breathing.
When asked if he retested for coronavirus on Friday, the president said he was “either at the end of the scale or free”, although he didn’t say his results were negative.
What events has he planned?
On Saturday, which his doctors said will be 10 days after his diagnosis, Mr. Trump will be speaking from the balcony of the White House to a group on the South Lawn.
Hundreds of people were reportedly invited.
- Top Republican Avoid White House Over Covid-19
- 2020 US Election: Your Top Questions Answered
All attendees must wear masks, get temperature checks, and be encouraged to social distancing, the White House said.
Mr Trump’s remarks, according to the White House, refer to the issue of law and order, which makes it more of a presidential event than a campaign event.
There will also be an event by the group Blexit, a campaign calling on black voters to reject the Democratic Party.
On Monday, the Trump campaign is planning a large rally in Sanford, Florida.
What about the debates?
Next week’s second presidential debate between Trump and his Democratic White House challenger Joe Biden is now officially canceled.
The Presidential Debate Commission said in a statement Friday that both campaigns had announced “alternative plans for that date”.
At the request of the commission, Mr Trump had refused to hold the showdown virtually on October 15 in order to minimize the risk of the spread of coronavirus.
The commission said it was still making arrangements for the third and final presidential debate on October 22nd in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Trump campaign said the commission was “biased” against Mr Biden, while the Democratic team accused the president of avoiding the debate.
Who has tested positive in Mr. Trump’s circle?
The announcement of Trump’s first mass meeting since he was infected sparked alarms in Washington, where officials are still trying to contact those attending the White House event.
According to his doctors, Mr Trump tested positive for Covid-19 last Thursday, but he didn’t say when his last negative test was.
- Did this event cause a virus outbreak in the White House?
According to the US media, 34 White House employees and other contacts tested positive for Covid-19 in the past few days.
On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that nine infections have been linked to Mr Trump’s September 18 rally in the state.
At least one person was contagious when they attended, officials say, and two cases have resulted in hospital admissions, with one of those people in intensive care.