White House declines to conduct contact tracing for Rose Garden event: NYT

  • The White House is not conducting contact tracing for its Sept. 26 Rose Garden event, The New York Times reported.
  • At least eight people who attended the event have tested positive for COVID-19, including President Donald Trump.
  • The event was held to announce the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Eight people who attended a Rose Garden ceremony less than two weeks ago have tested positive for COVID-19, including US President Donald Trump, but the White House has chosen not to conduct contact tracing, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Judd Deere, White House deputy press secretary, told Business Insider that the Trump administration “has plans and procedures in place that incorporate current CDC guidelines.”

The US Centers for Disease Control recommends that contact tracing be conducted for “close contacts,” defined as anyone who has spent at least 15 minutes within six feet of “laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.” Close contacts are informed of potential exposure and instructed to self-quarantine, a process that “slows the spread of COVID-19,” according to the CDC.

Deere asserted that the White House “has established a robust contact tracing program,” but refused to say whether it has carried out contact tracing, specifically, for the Rose Garden event, per CDC guidelines.

“You have my answer,” he said in an email.

According to The Times’ reporting, based on another White House official’s statements, the answer is that no such work is being carried out for the Sept. 26 event, held to announce Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Instead, the White House is limiting itself to conducting tracing only for contacts “within a two-day window from diagnosis,” The Times reported, which appears to consist “mostly of emails notifying people of potential exposure.”

The CDC states that the coronavirus can incubate for two days to two weeks before a person shows symptoms or tests positive. On average, it takes four to five days.

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