By William Cummings
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday that the White House held a "supersp[r]eader event," apparently referring to the Rose Garden ceremony where President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and where multiple attendees later tested positive for the coronavirus.
Fauci made the remark after being asked in a CBS News Radio interview what the recent coronavirus outbreak at the White House said about the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"I think the data speak for themselves," Fauci said. "We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together, were not wearing masks."
More than 20 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the outbreak tied to the White House, including Trump, first lady Melania Trump, senior adviser Hope Hicks and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hasn't been to the White House in two months because of what he saw as lax enforcement of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Fauci is not the first expert to refer to the ceremony as a supersp[r]eader event.
Susie Welty, a contact tracing expert and technical director of surveillance at the University of California-San Francisco, told USA TODAY that because of the attendees went on to attend other large events, the Rose Garden ceremony was "probably several super spreader events mixed up in this one scenario."