Few masks, no social distancing, hugs, and handshakes were likely a jarring sight for public health experts and Americans cautiously going about life amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With hundreds of our nation’s leaders sitting shoulder to shoulder last Saturday in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump picked Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In the six days that have followed, at least 10 known coronavirus cases have emerged from that event, including President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Sens. Thom Tillis, and Mike Lee, Notre Dame John I. Jenkins, Pastor Greg Laurie, Gov. Chris Christie, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) also said an unnamed reporter who attended Saturday's announcement also tested positive for the virus. That person became symptomatic on Wednesday and tested positive on Friday.
The WHCA has confirmed that two other journalists who cover the White House have tested positive for the virus in recent days, though it's unclear if those unnamed reporters were present for Barrett's nomination.
In addition, others who have been in contact with Trump, White House senior aide Hope Hicks, and RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, have tested positive for the virus.
The CDC says that the incubation period for the coronavirus is up to 14 days following infection, meaning it’s possible more attendees could develop symptoms in the coming days.
Given the incubation period, the CDC urges those who have been in close contact with positive coronavirus cases to quarantine for 14 days. With a number of prominent members of government now infected with the virus, it’s unclear how many US senators, senior White House aides, and others in the upper echelons of the US government will follow these guidelines after snubbing social distancing guidelines.
For those who have been infected, they now are urged to isolate for at least 10 days to prevent the spread of the virus. In severe cases, isolation could be required for up to 20 days, the CDC says.