Donald Trump's announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court nominee is being looked at as a potential "super spreader" event for coronavirus in the wake of the president's positive COVID-19 test, a new report indicates.
Trump took to Twitter early Friday morning to announce that both he and his wife had tested positive for coronavirus. A number of others close to Trump have become infected this week as well, including Hope Hicks and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has also contracted the virus.
As the Independent noted, many of the top Republicans who came down with the virus were together at the same event: the Saturday ceremony at the White House in which Trump formally announced Judge Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court vacancy left following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The report noted that Sen. Lee was seen hugging other attendees at the ceremony, all without wearing a mask.
Others not directly connected to the White House have also come down with coronavirus after attending the reception, the report added. John Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame who was at the event in honor of Judge Barrett and who is a law professor at the university, is one such person.
The Independent noted that if any of those who tested positive in recent days were infected at the reception, they could have created a web of infections that have now spread across Washington, DC and to the very top of the GOP.
"Covid-19 symptoms can take between two and 14 days to develop, the average being five days. Factoring in the schedules of the president, first lady, Ms Hicks, and Senator Lee over the past week creates a web of many dozens or even hundreds of people with whom they may have come into direct contact," the newspaper reported, adding that all of those who attended Tuesday's presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio could be at risk as well.
Trump has been criticized for failing to adhere to social distancing guidelines and often refusing to wear a mask at events. He has held a number of campaign events that did not require attendees to wear masks or keep six feet of distance, and public health experts have warned that these events could be connected to local surges in cases.
It was not yet clear exactly when Trump first contracted the virus, or whether he or any others had it at the time of the White House ceremony last week.