"I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team," the former governor of New Jersey said

chris christie
Chris Christie
| Credit: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Chris Christie is admitting he was "wrong"not to wear a mask at what has now become known as a coronavirus super-spreader event at the White House Rose Garden last month.

In a statement to the New York Times, Christie, 58, said that he should have been more careful when attending Donald Trump's nomination ceremony of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on September 26.

"I believed when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that I and many others underwent every day," Christie said.

"I was wrong," the former governor of New Jersey admitted. "I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team."

Christie explained to the Times that he was seated in the third row at the ceremony and had been told that "everybody in the first three rows had been tested that day and tested negative."

chris christie
Chris Christie at the Rose Garden on September 26
| Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"I shouldn’t have relied on that," said the politician, who later tested positive for COVID-19 and ended up spending a week in the hospital. He was released over the weekend.

"I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow C.D.C. guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others," Christie said.

In a statement on Twitter Saturday, Christie said he had left the Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey after he checked himself in on October 3. While Christie previously said he only had mild symptoms of COVID-19, he was considered an at-risk patient because of a history with asthma and said going to the hospital was "an important precautionary measure."

In addition to attending the ceremony in the Rose Garden last month, Christie helped prep Trump for the first presidential debate. Nobody wore masks to protect against the spread of the virus during prep sessions, he said.

Trump and Melania Trump revealed their positive COVID-19 diagnoses on October 1. Christie told the Times, "I don’t know who infected me and I don’t know how frequently he was tested."

"I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be," Christie said in his statement, adding that he finds the way people are responding to the pandemic to be "governed by our two dominant political and media extremes: those who believe there is nothing to this virus and those alarmists who would continue to close down our country and not trust the common sense of the American people."

"Both are wrong," he said, saying that COVID-19 is "something to take very seriously. "The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly."

There have been more than 8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with more than 217,000 deaths related to the virus, according to data from the New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.