Fauci calls Trump 'superspreader' gathering dangerous

2 weeks ago 20
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The top US infectious diseases doctor has warned a White House event which did not appear to follow coronavirus restrictions was "dangerous".

Questions were already being raised about whether the president caught the virus at an event on Saturday 26 September, after at least seven other attendees tested positive.

The interview came as Mr Trump prepared to leave the military hospital where he has been treated for coronavirus.

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Trump's surprise drive-by greeting

Dr Antony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested there was a "high risk of transmissibility" at the event called by Mr Trump to announce his new pick for the Supreme Court.

"I have been very vocal and visible about the fundamental tenets of public health with coronavirus," he told Times Radio on Monday.

"And that is universal wearing of masks, keeping distance avoiding crowds, doing things outdoor more than indoor and washing hands frequently.

"When I see pictures like that, not only there but anywhere, people who are in bars congregating, people who are at parties congregating without masks, that is a dangerous situation that can lead to a high risk of transmissibility.

"And unfortunately, and I say really unfortunately, that's exactly what happened during that meeting that was had to celebrate the appointment of a Supreme Court justice."

 Guests watch as U.S. President Donald Trump introduces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Image: People were seated together at the ceremony

Guests sat in tightly-packed chairs which did not appear to be two metres apart while some hugged and did not wear masks.

Six days later, the US president and his wife both confirmed they had COVID-19.

The incubation period of the virus is between one to 14 days, although on average people will start to develop symptoms after five to six days.

When asked if it could have been a superspreader event, Dr Fauci said: "We haven't done all of the precise epidemiology. But I agree with you.

"If you look at it, and some of the people that were all commonly there, it looks like that that could have been an event where there was multiple people infected."

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Image: Dr Fauci said it was likely there were 'multiple people infected'

Mr Trump said he would leave hospital, after doctors said he was doing well enough to go home but "may not entirely be out of the woods yet".

The president has not had a fever in more than 72 hours and his oxygen levels are normal, they added.

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Where has Trump been?

The president's medical team confirmed he had twice received extra oxygen but doesn't now have any respiratory problems.

However, they refused to answer questions on his lung scans.

COVID-19 can cause serious damage, including pneumonia, that can be visible in such scans.

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