White House not contact tracing Rose Garden event considered possible ‘superspreader’: report

The White House is not contact tracing guests and staff who attended a Rose Garden event for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite many viewing it as a possible spreader of the coronavirus, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The celebration, which took place 10 days ago, is viewed by some as the potential epicenter or “superspreader” of the White House’s coronavirus outbreak because it has been followed by at least 11 attendees testing positive for COVID-19, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpLabor secretary’s wife tests positive for COVID-19 Russia shuts down Trump admin’s last-minute push to strike nuclear arms deal before election Trump makes appeal to suburban women at rally: ‘Will you please like me?’ MORE, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpDOJ accuses ex-Melania Trump aide of violating nondisclosure agreement White House Halloween to be ‘modified’ to meet CDC guidelines: report Second GOP senator attends Barrett hearings in person after COVID-19 diagnosis MORE, adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayBillboard warns Trump’s Iowa rally will be ‘superspreader event’ White House Halloween to be ‘modified’ to meet CDC guidelines: report Minnesota health officials connect COVID-19 cases to Trump, Biden campaign events MORE, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, at least three Republican senators and other White House staff.

An unnamed White House official told the Times on Monday that officials were not contact tracing those connected to the event.

Contact tracing includes public health workers trying to stop COVID-19 transmission by reaching out to people who have tested positive for the disease and asking them to both self-isolate and provide a list of people they had contact with 48 hours before becoming sick, who will, in turn, also get a call. In this way, health officials are able to stop the potential spread of the virus before it can be passed on to someone else.

The White House is still technically following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that require contact tracing for the 48 hours leading up to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the official told the Times. 

Public health experts have criticized the decision not to contact trace the Rose Garden event, however.

“This is a total abdication of responsibility by the Trump administration,” Boston University public health expert Joshua Barocas told the Times. 

Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday, shortly after it was revealed his close aide Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes Trump should try a little empathy Trump Jr. returning to campaign trail after quarantining MORE had tested positive. In the following days, several others announced positive diagnoses. 

On Monday, Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after three days of treatment.

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No Contact Tracing After Rose Garden COVID-19 Super-Spreader Event

MARLENE EDITED

 

Now that Anthony Fauci, MD, has declared the Sept. 26 Rose Garden introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a COVID-19 super-spreader event, the question is how many of the 200 guests and White House staff – most of whom did not wear a mask or social distance – have been infected. An infected person could infect at least two other people. The Washington Post is reporting that at least 34 people connected to the event or the White House have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, didn’t parse words on Oct. 9, when he told CBS News Radio that data confirms Judge Barrett’s coming-out party seeded the virus’s spread.

“We had a super-spreader event in the White House,” he said. “And it was a situation where people were crowded together, were not wearing masks. So the data speaks for themselves.”

But figuring out exactly how many people at the event contracted COVID-19 will not be easy. Many attendees have scattered across the country, returning to their homes and their daily lives likely unaware that they had been exposed to the virus. And the White House has resisted much of the CDC’s effort to conduct contact tracing. 

“I think that it is fair to say that anybody who attended the event or worked at it could have been exposed to the virus, since it is likely that they came across others, some of whom were infected,” said Seth Welles, PhD, ScD, a professor of epidemiology and infectious disease at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia. “How many have been infected is a whole other story.”

A super-spreader event is defined as when a critical number of infected individuals are in close proximity to a large group of people, allowing a virus to transfer easily. A week after the Rose Garden event, President Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. Several aides attending the ceremony, including Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller and Kayleigh McEnany, and Republican Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Mike Lee (R-UT) have also tested positive. 

“The Barrett Rose Garden event is a great example,” Dr. Welles said.

From there, it becomes a geometric progression. Early reports said that nine people, including two journalists, were infected at the ceremony. Epidemiologists know that one infected person is likely to infect two or three people, Dr. Welles said. Those two or three people are each likely to infect two or three people, and so on. And then there are those who have no symptoms; they are still capable of spreading the virus.

“The percentage of people with severe symptoms is 5% to 10% among those infected, and around 2% die,” Dr. Welles said. “It is concerning.”

Contact tracing is the best way to stop the super-spreading of a virus. It takes a lot of manpower and a good deal of training to do it right, Dr.

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Fauci calls White House outbreak a coronavirus superspreader event

More than 150 people gathered in the White House’s Rose Garden on September 26 to see President Donald Trump officially nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Most of them were maskless. Many hugged or shook hands as they mingled in close proximity.

Some attendees even celebrated inside the White House, without masks.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the nomination ceremony was a coronavirus superspreader event. The term refers to a circumstance in which one person infects a disproportionately large number of others, often during a large gathering.

“The data speak for themselves,” Fauci told CBS News in a radio interview on Friday.

Within five days of the event, both the president and the first lady, Melania Trump, were diagnosed with COVID-19. The outbreak has hit at least 34 people in the president’s orbit, including White House staffers, bodyguards, and family members, as well as pastors, journalists, GOP senators, and advisors.

The identity of the person or people who were first infected, however, is unknown.

Defining a superspreader

rose garden barrett

Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks in the White House’s Rose Garden on September 26 after President Donald Trump nominated her to the Supreme Court.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty


The term superspreader refers to an infected person who transmits the virus to more people than the average patient does. For the coronavirus, that average number, known as R0 (pronounced “R-naught”), has seemed to hover between 2 and 2.5. So anyone who passes the virus to three people or more could be considered a superspreader.

A superspreader event, then, is a set of circumstances that facilitates excessive transmission. In one well-known example, a person transmitted the virus to 52 others during a choir practice in March in Mount Vernon, Washington.

A superspreader event in Arkansas that month involved a pastor and his wife who attended church events a few days before they developed symptoms. Of the 92 people there, 35 got sick. Seven had to be hospitalized, and three died.

In that sense, it’s not so much that individual people are innate superspreaders — it’s the type of activity that enables a person to pass the virus to lots of people.

Those activities generally involve large gatherings — often indoors — in which lots of people from different households come into close, extended contact, such as religious services or parties.

“You can’t have a superspreading event unless there are a lot of people around, so you have to be very careful still about gatherings of people of any size,” William Schaffner, an infectious-disease expert at Vanderbilt University, previously told Business Insider.

rose garden barrett

Attorney General William Barr, right, says goodbye to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the Rose Garden event on September 26.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty


Rachel Graham, an assistant epidemiology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said most Rose Garden ceremony attendees weren’t doing anything to mitigate virus transmission.

“They’re doing pretty

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Dr. Fauci Is Convinced the White House Hosted a ‘Superspreader Event’

Dr. Anthony Fauci echoed what many Americans have already concluded: Donald Trump’s recent Rose Garden ceremony was a “superspreader” event.

Fauci, a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, made the assertion during an interview with CBS News’ Steven Portnoy on Friday, about a week after the president confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19. The event in question was held for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump nominated to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Photos and videos taken during the ceremony showed high-profile figures and administration members without proper face coverings and in clear defiance of social distancing guidelines.

Since the event, at least 34 people within the president’s orbit have tested positive for the disease.

“I think the — the data speaks for themselves,” Fauci said. “It was in a situation where people were crowded together, not wearing masks. We had a superspreader event at the White House. So the data speak for themselves.”

CBS News Radio · CBS News Radio Interview: Dr. Anthony Fauci

Fauci, who is also the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, then addressed Trump’s use of the word “cure” while touting the benefits of an antibody cocktail by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

“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,” Fauci said. “We have good treatments for people with advanced disease who are in the hospital.”

Just two days after Trump was released from Walter Reed Medical Center, he released a video insisting he was feeling “like perfect.” The president recently said he might hold a couple of in-person events this weekend; However, Fauci told CBS News that those are unlikely to happen if Trump doesn’t undergo further testing.

“I can tell you, they are going to be testing him to determine the trajectory and whether he gets to the point where he’s not infected,” Fauci said. “I don’t know all the other stuff you were just saying. But I can guarantee you that they will be testing him before they let him go out.”

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Overnight Health Care: Fauci: ‘We had a superspreader event in the White House’ | Trump to hold an in-person event on Saturday

Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care. President Trump is returning to in-person events, the stimulus talks are maybe sort-of alive again, and the CDC warns about the spread of the virus among young people. But we’ll start with Dr. Fauci weighing in on the White House.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: Fauci: 'We had a superspreader event in the White House' | Trump to hold an in-person event on Saturday | Trump proposes a $1.8T relief package


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Overnight Health Care: Fauci: ‘We had a superspreader event in the White House’ | Trump to hold an in-person event on Saturday | Trump proposes a $1.8T relief package

A stark assessment from Dr. Fauci: ‘We had a superspreader event in the White House’

Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Friday that there was a “superspreader event” at the White House, amid an outbreak of cases among the president and staff.

“Well, I think the data speak for themselves. 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,” Fauci told CBS News Radio.

His remarks came in response to a question about the lack of mask-wearing at the White House, and whether testing alone could stop the virus from spreading.

At least 34 White House staffers and contacts have been infected, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News.

Many of the individuals who have tested positive attended a Sept. 26 event at the White House where Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The event featured a crowd of people sitting close together in the White House Rose Garden, with many not wearing masks, as well as indoor activities.

Read more here.

And now, Trump to hold an in-person event on Saturday:

President Trump plans to hold an in-person event at the White House on Saturday, an official confirmed to The Hill, his first public engagement since being diagnosed with the coronavirus last week.

ABC News, which first reported the plans, said that Trump would speak to an audience on the South Lawn from the balcony of the White House at an event being billed to invitees as “remarks to peaceful protesters for law and order.”

It is not clear how many individuals will attend the outdoor event. The setup suggests that Trump will not be close to any of his guests.

More on that here.

Even though the White House has repeatedly refused to disclose when Trump’s last negative test was, his doctor said he should be able to make a “safe return” to public events by Saturday. Read more on that here.

The latest in a dizzying series of turns on the stimulus talks: Trump proposes a $1.8T coronavirus relief package

Inching closer to Democrats’ demands, President Trump and his aides on Friday offered Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package, sources said, as the president urged the negotiators to “go big.”

The new figure was a jump from the White House’s $1.6 trillion offer last week, but there was no

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Fauci says the White House held a coronavirus ‘superspreader event’

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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HERE ARE THE EFFECTS THE STEROID DEXAMETHASONE COULD BE HAVING ON TRUMP

FAUCI SAYS IT’S ‘OBVIOUS’ HE HASN’T BEEN INVOLVED IN TRUMP’S CARE

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THE WHITE HOUSE DECLINED THE CDC’S OFFERS TO HELP CONTACT TRACE THE ADMINISTRATION’S CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK


 

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Fauci calls Amy Coney Barrett ceremony in Rose Garden ‘superspreader event’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Friday called President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden ceremony last month announcing Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court a “superspreader event.”

Fauci, who was interviewed by CBS News Radio’s White House correspondent Steven Portnoy, defended the efficacy of wearing masks to slow the spread of Covid-19 and used the ceremony as an example.

“Well, I think the data speaks for themselves. 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,” he said. “So the data speak for themselves.”

This is not the first time Fauci has been at odds with Trump, who has had a cavalier attitude toward Covid-19 since being released from the hospital Monday after being infected with the virus, and has boasted about his apparent recovery and given mixed messaging around wearing masks.

Fauci survived a previous White House attempt to discredit him after he contradicted the president’s more optimistic assessment of the progress of the pandemic and corrected the president’s claim that the virus is the same as the flu.

Trump announced Barrett, a federal appeals judge, as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the next Supreme Court justice at an outdoor ceremony Sept. 26, attended by more than 150 people, many of whom did not wear masks or practice social distancing.

In addition to the president and the first lady, several other people who were at the ceremony have been confirmed to have Covid-19: former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins and a White House journalist.

Following that event, the number of people in Trump’s orbit who have tested positive for the coronavirus is growing, including more than a dozen aides at the White House and on the Trump campaign.

Fauci also contradicted the president, but did not mention his name, when asked about references to cures for Covid-19, saying it “leads to a lot of confusion,” noting there are promising treatments but no known cure. Trump has called the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals drug he received a miracle “cure” for the virus.

Fauci also said he is worried Americans might not take the virus seriously as the president touts his apparent recovery.

“I think a misperception on the part of some is that this isn’t a particularly serious situation and because so many people do well, that you don’t really have to take it seriously,” he said. “And that’s a misperception we have to overcome because you don’t want to trivialize the disease because it has the capability of seriously making an individual seriously ill and also killing individuals, usually the elderly, and usually those who have underlying medical conditions.”

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Fauci: ‘We had a superspreader event in the White House’

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Pence, Harris spar over COVID-19 during policy-focused debate Eric Trump claims his father ‘literally saved Christianity’ Overnight Health Care: Trump works from Oval Office after COVID-19 diagnosis | GOP frustrated by Trump’s messages on aid | Eli Lilly asks for emergency authorization of antibody treatment MORE, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Friday that there was a “superspreader event” at the White House late last month, a stark assessment of the string of positive coronavirus cases among the president and top aides.

“Well, I think the data speak for themselves. 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,” Fauci told CBS News Radio.

His remarks came in response to a question about the lack of mask-wearing at the White House, and whether testing alone could stop the virus from spreading.

At least 34 White House staffers and contacts have been infected, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News.

The string of cases has included President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpDeadline accidentally publishes story about Pence being diagnosed with COVID-19 Karen Pence’s office defends her appearing without a mask at debate Surgeon general cited for taking pictures in Hawaii park closed to prevent virus spread MORE, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and top advisers like Stephen MillerStephen MillerTrump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis Deadline accidentally publishes story about Pence being diagnosed with COVID-19 Overnight Defense: Pentagon retracing steps of top officials after positive coronavirus case | Trump suggests Gold Star families could have infected him | VP debate brings up military topics MORE and Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis Deadline accidentally publishes story about Pence being diagnosed with COVID-19 Overnight Defense: Pentagon retracing steps of top officials after positive coronavirus case | Trump suggests Gold Star families could have infected him | VP debate brings up military topics MORE.

Many of the individuals who have tested positive attended a Sept. 26 event at the White House where Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The event featured a crowd of people sitting close together in the White House Rose Garden, with many not wearing masks, as well as indoor activities.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that after an initial delay, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now playing a limited role in helping with contact tracing for the White House outbreak.

The D.C. health department, as well jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, on Thursday issued

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White House hosted Covid ‘superspreader’ event, says Dr Fauci

Dr Anthony FauciImage copyright
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Top US virus expert Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the Covid task force, said it was clear there was a “superspreader event” at the White House.

When asked on CBS News radio about the White House outbreak, Dr Fauci said “the data speak for themselves”.

The comments come as President Donald Trump says he has recovered and is keen to get back on the campaign trail with less than a month to the election.

Critics say the White House has avoided questions on Mr Trump’s health.

CBS News Radio White House Correspondent Steven Portnoy on Friday asked what Dr Fauci, a veteran health official, thought of the White House’s reluctance to insist on mask-wearing and social distancing as virus precautions, and instead rely on regular testing.

“The data speak for themselves – 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.”

Dr Fauci also noted experts have been recommending mask-wearing for the last six months.

An event at the White House, celebrating the president’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court judge on Saturday 26 October, is thought to be the root of the localised outbreak, as many attendees have since tested positive.

Large gatherings are still banned in the nation’s capital due to Covid-19, but federal property like the White House is exempt.

  • Did this White House event cause a virus outbreak?

Earlier on Friday, a White House spokeswoman said the president wanted to return to the campaign trail this weekend.

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Media captionFour Covid rules broken by Trump and the White House

But an administration official later said Mr Trump was unlikely to travel so soon because the logistics of organising events at short notice was problematic. An appearance is more likely on Monday, they said.

The president is also set to have a televised “medical evaluation” on Fox News on Friday evening.

Mr Trump tested positive for Covid-19 last Thursday, according to his doctors, but it remains unclear when his last negative test was.

As many as 34 White House aides and other contacts have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days, according to an internal memo viewed by ABC News.

Although the names of many people who have interacted with the president and tested positive are now known, it remains unclear just how many were exposed at the White House.

New Covid safety measures – including more stringent mask wearing – are now in place there.

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Dr. Fauci Says WH Rose Garden SCOTUS Event Was a COVID-19 ‘Superspreader’

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the White House Rose Garden event on September 26 to mark the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett was a coronavirus “superspreader.”



a group of people sitting at a table in front of a crowd: Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after being nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020.


© Olivier Douliery/Getty
Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after being nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020.

“Well, I think the data speaks for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House,” the nation’s leading infectious disease expert told CBS News Radio on Friday. “And it was in a situation where people were crowded together without wearing masks, so the data speaks for themselves.”

President Donald Trump officially announced Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court last month, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Less than a week after the White House ceremony, the president said that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the novel virus. A number of other White House staff members and Republican lawmakers who attended the event also confirmed they were diagnosed with COVID-19 as well.

A Simple Timeline Of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis

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Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

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