At Least 8 Test Positive for COVID-19 After Attending Trump's White House SCOTUS Ceremony
At least eight people have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus after attending the White House SCOTUS nomination ceremony last week.
The outdoor ceremony where President Donald Trump nominated federal judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court was held on Sept. 26 and was attended by around 150 people, many of whom were not seen wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
As the event proves to be a "super-spreader" of the coronavirus, the White House revealed that Barrett had COVID-19 over the summer and since recovered.
And hours after Trump and wife Melania Trump, who was seated in the front row during the ceremony, announced their positive diagnosis shortly after midnight on Friday, a number of other attendees revealed they had also subsequently tested positive.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who was seated in the second row behind Vice President Mike Pence announced his diagnosis on Friday. Lee was photographed not wearing a mask. (Pence has continued to report negative test results.)
“Yesterday morning, I was experiencing symptoms consistent with longtime allergies. Out of an abundance of caution, I sought medical advice and was tested for COVID-19,” the Republican lawmaker wrote in a statement shared on social media. “Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday’s test came back positive.”
Later on Friday, Sen. Tom Thillis announced his positive test results. Thillis, who was seen wearing a mask during the ceremony, was seated in the same row as Sen. Lee, although there were several people between them.
Conway, 53, shared her diagnosis on Friday night with a brief statement on Twitter. "Tonight I tested positive for COVID-19," she wrote, noting that her “symptoms are mild (light cough).”
Conway was photographed in the first several rows without a face mask.
A White House journalist who was present to cover the event has also tested positive, according to NPR, as has University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who helped Trump prepare for Tuesday's presidential debate and was also present for the ceremony, announced his diagnosis on Saturday morning.
“I just received word that I am positive for COVID-19. I want to thank all of my friends and colleagues who have reached out to ask how I was feeling in the last day or two,” Christie wrote in a Tweet on Saturday. “I will be receiving medical attention today and will keep the necessary folks apprised of my condition.”
On Saturday afternoon, Christie, who has asthma, checked himself into a hospital as a precautionary measure following his diagnosis. "In consultation with my doctors, I checked myself into Morristown Medical Center this afternoon. While I am feeling good and only have mild symptoms, due to my history of asthma we decided this is an important precautionary measure," he tweeted. "I am thankful for our hardworking medical professionals and look forward to coming home soon."
Speaking of his time working on debate prep, Christie previously told ABC News that “no one was wearing masks.”
Advisor Hope Hicks, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel have also contracted COVID-19, although they were not present for the ceremony. The source of the coronavirus outbreak remains unclear.
Addressing reporters at Walter Reed hospital at Saturday, where Trump is scheduled to remain under observation for several days, Dr. Sean Conley said the president is "doing very well" and that they "remain cautiously optimistic."
However, information about the president's health has been conflicting.
In a Saturday pool report, a source familiar with the president’s health said that "the president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery."
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