Last week in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, the Guardian reports. That gathering is now a suspected super-spreader event, as at least 7 people, including the president, have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. They are:
First Lady Melania Trump, Kellyanne Conway, former White House senior adviser, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), the Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University, and a White House reporter.
According to USA Today, more than 180 people were in attendance at the Rose Garden, with only about 50 wearing masks and even fewer practicing social distancing.
Barrett previously tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered this summer.
Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, who was in close proximity to the president during prep for the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, has also tested positive for the virus. Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman who attended the debate, as well as two other White House reporters, have also tested positive, the New York Times reports.
As ESSENCE previously reported, the avalanche of diagnoses began after Hope Hicks, 31, a top Trump aid who traveled with Trump to Cleveland for the debate, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday. Hicks was seen traveling on Air Force One without a mask. She also traveled with Trump to his rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.
While Trump receives treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, contact tracing continues in an attempt to determine where exactly the president contracting the coronavirus. A difficult task since, in addition to the event in the Rose Garden, he has held several campaign rallies in defiance of COVID-19 safety protocols set in place by his own administration’c coronavirus task force.
To date, the United States has had 7.36 million COVID-19 cases and over 209,000 deaths.