A person who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus attended the same political conference as Donald Trump, a new report has revealed.
The Maryland Department of Health this week confirmed that a patient who tested positive for the coronavirus had attended last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the Morning Call reported. The conference is the most important annual event in the conservative world, attracting top politicians including Trump, who spoke at this year’s conference.
As The Hill reported, the patient was exposed to the virus before attending the conference, and later was confirmed to have it after being tested at a hospital in New Jersey. The patient has since been quarantined in a hospital.
The White House said there would have been no contact between Trump and the coronavirus patient, and that they were not in close proximity at any point. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also said that state health officials had been working to identify who may have come in contact with the patient at the three-day event.
“Immediately after learning of this individual’s interactions in our state, we began coordinating with the White House, the CDC and federal officials, the New Jersey Department of Health, Prince George’s County officials, and conference organizers,” Hogan said. “Due to the scale of this conference, we are urging attendees who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to immediately reach out to their health care provider.”
Trump has tried to project calm and optimism in the face of the fast-spreading virus, though critics have attacked him for what they say are misleading statements downplaying its spread and the speed with which a vaccine would be developed.
This week, a former Trump administration official also appeared to break with the president and called on people only to take advice from medical professionals for guidance on the virus. Former Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said in an interview that the public should ignore political “finger-pointing” and stick to the facts.
“I try to take my advice from health care professionals, not politicians,” he said, via Raw Story. “So going to credible sources is a good place to start. And you know, my primary concern is for the safety of the public.”
The coronavirus has spread across the U.S., with cases appearing in a number of states including many who contracted it within the community. The death toll inside the U.S. rose to 19 on Saturday, with nearly all of the deaths coming from an outbreak in Washington state.