Dallas-area Pastor Jack Graham opts not to follow CDC guidelines in wake of Rose Garden COVID exposure

Updated Oct. 5 at 8:15 p.m. to include additional information.

WASHINGTON — Dallas-area megachurch Pastor Jack Graham has declined to follow medical guidelines despite being in close contact with people who have since tested positive for the coronavirus after a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony, telling his congregation, “I am ridiculously healthy.”

The 70-year-old leader of Prestonwood Baptist Church attended the ceremony at the White House where President Donald Trump formally announced his nomination of conservative Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. Since the event, at least 10 attendees have tested positive for the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was photographed sitting directly behind Graham. Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., was sitting next to Graham and also later tested positive.

Graham, Laurie and Christie were among the vast majority of people not wearing a mask at the event.

Robert Morris, the senior pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, was photographed at the Rose Garden ceremony without a mask. He was seated directly behind Notre Dame President John Jenkins, who was also unmasked and later tested positive for the virus.

A spokesperson for the church declined to comment on if Morris had been tested for the virus and was quarantining following his exposure.

A maskless Graham led his church’s service on Sunday and was photographed having a conversation with several worshippers afterward by a member of his congregation. Graham was not wearing a mask in the photo that was shared with The Dallas Morning News.

Doctors look at a lung CT image at a hospital in Xiaogan,China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone exposed to someone who tests positive for the virus quarantine for at least 14 days following the exposure and maintain six feet of social distance from others.

“I am ridiculously healthy, let’s just put it that way,” Graham said during the service. “I’m not sick, I’m fine. … I don’t have COVID, let’s just put it that way, and I’m grateful for that.”

The CDC says symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after an exposure to someone infected with the virus, hence the quarantine recommendation. The Rose Garden event is still well-within that 14 day period.

A quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been infected with COVID-19 away from others to help “prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms,” according to the CDC.

People exposed to the virus can test negative before later testing positive.

Christie said he had tested negative last Tuesday ahead of the presidential debate but then tested positive on Friday. Christie was hospitalized Sunday as a precaution, he tweeted.

Graham addressed the concerns in a statement Monday but ignored questions about when his most recent test for the virus was and if he intends to quarantine for the remainder of the 14 day period since his exposure.

“As I mentioned during our weekend services, thankfully,

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In the wake of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, the White House has yet to mobilize a CDC tracing team to contact hundreds of people who were in the president’s company



a group of people sitting at a park: President Donald Trump and Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Alex Brandon/AP Photo


© Alex Brandon/AP Photo
President Donald Trump and Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Alex Brandon/AP Photo

  • The White House is yet to deploy a ‘test and trace’ team of CDC experts following the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis, reported The Washington Post. 
  • The team’s function is to trace test those the president came into contact with while infected to stop the disease spreading further. 
  • Trump attended a fundraiser with 200 people and was in frequent contact with top officials while infected. 
  • Trump has long sought to downplay the seriousness of the disease that has killed more than 200,000 Americans. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The White House has yet to deploy a specialist Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team to track and test those whom President Donald Trump came into contact with after being infected with the coronavirus. 

Two sources told The Washington Post Saturday that the CDC specialists’ team was on standby but had not yet begun to work tracing all of those the president came into contact with while infected. 

Contact tracing is one of the critical methods advocated by public health officials to contain the spread of coronavirus. The CDC in guidelines on its website says tracing “will be conducted for close contacts (any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) of laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.”

It is not known precisely how or when Trump contracted the virus. Adviser Hope Hicks tested positive for the disease Wednesday and had traveled with the president to his debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday.

Following the debate, Trump took part in several public events, attending a fundraiser at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, with 200 people only hours before testing positive on Thursday.

The previous day the president had traveled to Minnesota. He held a rally in front of hundreds of supporters, many unmasked, and met top state Republicans at a campaign fundraiser.

Officials in states where Trump has held events recently told the Post that they had not been contacted by the White House about tracing the president’s contacts and were mainly acting independently to find them.

Video: Why the next 48 hours are ‘critical’ for President Trump’s COVID prognosis (FOX News)

Why the next 48 hours are ‘critical’ for President Trump’s COVID prognosis

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In the wake of the president’s diagnoses, several senior Republicans have also been found to be COVID-19 positive, including former presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Thom Tillis, Notre Dame University president John Jenkins, and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. 

There is speculation that a White House ceremony a week before Trump’s diagnosis to announce Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, may have been the “superspreader” event where many became infected. 

At the event, few observed social distancing measures or wore masks, and some guests hugged

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Police are called to a funeral wake in a pub garden

The ‘snitching’ begins! Police are called to a funeral wake in a pub garden after mourners were pictured ‘not socially distancing’

  • Officers visited the Old Crown in Wigston after resident claimed no distancing
  • Landlady Sue Humphries said she had been hosting a wake for around 30 people
  • She added that ‘all our customers were in groups of six and spaced apart’ 

Police were called to a funeral wake inside a pub garden after mourners were pictured appearing to break social distancing rules amid the Government’s ‘rule of six’.

Officers visited the Old Crown in Wigston, Leicestershire yesterday after a local resident called them to claim people were not following coronavirus guidelines. 

Police called the pub twice and spoke to the landlady Sue Humphries before turning up unannounced to check that the rules were being followed.  

A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: ‘Police received a call just after 1.30pm yesterday reporting concerns in relation to a number of people gathering at a premises in Moat Street, Wigston, and that Covid-19 guidelines were being breached.

‘Officers have engaged with staff and others at the concerned premises who co-operated with police to ensure guidelines were being followed.’

Officers visited the Old Crown in Wigston, Leicestershire yesterday after a local resident called them to claim people were not following coronavirus guidelines. Pictured: The wake

Officers visited the Old Crown in Wigston, Leicestershire yesterday after a local resident called them to claim people were not following coronavirus guidelines. Pictured: The wake

The resident who called the police took a video of people drinking outside at the back of the pub.

‘I was concerned at what I saw,’ she said. ‘There appeared to be a large group of people drinking outside the pub and they looked quite close to each other.

‘I felt I had to alert the police in case rules were being broken. I felt it was my public duty to report this and I would do the same again.’

Ms Humphries claimed she hosted a wake for 30 people on behalf of a local resident which started at 10.45am.

‘The police called me twice to check that my customers were following the coronavirus rules,’ she said.

‘I spoke to all of customers to remind them of the rules but we always ensure that the rules are being followed properly at all times. All our customers were in groups of six and spaced apart.

‘After the two calls the police just turned up at the pub. They asked us to move some people from the back of the pub to the front to help with social distancing so we did.

‘They left satisfied that no rules were being broken.

Police called the pub (pictured) twice and spoke to the landlady Sue Humphries then turned up unannounced to check that the rules were being followed

Police called the pub (pictured) twice and spoke to the landlady Sue Humphries then turned up unannounced to check that the rules were being followed

‘The last of the people from the wake left at about 5.30pm. We were a lot less busy after they left.’

Ms Humphries said she reopened the pub on August 1 after lockdown.

The incident came ahead of Oadby

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The I-X Center, home to the auto show, garden show and indoor amusement park, is closing: The Wake Up podcast

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has taken down a giant in Cleveland.



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You can listen online here.

The mammoth I-X Center, the home to annual events such as the auto show, home show and indoor amusement park, is closing its doors for good at the end of the year. As many as 2 million visitors per year attended events at the 2.2-million-square-foot facility. The question now is where will those events go? The coronavirus also is hitting Cuyahoga County’s arts and cultural sector hard, putting the future of some organizations in question. There is some good news: The Big Ten will play a football season after all, beginning Oct. 23.

Hear these stories and more in today’s podcast.

The podcast is a summary of cleveland.com’s morning newsletter The Wake Up. You can receive The Wake Up through email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday by subscribing here.

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