Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Friday said the White House held a coronavirus “superspreader event,” referring to the White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
“I think the data speak for themselves,” Fauci said during a CBS News Radio interview when speaking on the importance of mask wearing to curb the spread of COVID-19.
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“We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves,” Fauci said.
The comment from the nation’s top infectious diseases expert comes after nearly a dozen people who attended the Sept. 26 White House ceremony for Barrett’s nomination tested positive for COVID-19, including President Trump, the first lady, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and several others.
Many of those in attendance sat close together in the White House Rose Garden, with many not wearing face coverings.
The phrase “superspreader event” is used to describe places where the virus has spread to a large number of people.
At least 34 White House staffers and other contacts have been infected with the coronavirus in recent days, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News.
Fauci also commented on the president’s use of the word “cure” for the experimental antibody cocktail he was given after his coronavirus diagnosis last week. He said there is currently no cure for COVID-19 only therapeutics.
“We don’t have any indication — I think you really have to depend on what you mean by a ‘cure,’ because that’s a word that leads to a lot of confusion,” he said. “We have good treatments for people with advanced disease who are in the hospital.”
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