The White House will not conduct contact tracing of guests and staff members who attended a Rose Garden reception on Sept. 26 despite at least a dozen attendees having tested positive for COVID-19 in the 10 days since, a White House official told The New York Times. The celebration for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination has potential ripple effects on public health if the extended family and social networks of all in attendance are taken into consideration. Instead, the official said the administration is focusing on contacts during a two-day window from the president’s diagnosis. Public health experts told The New York Times that ignoring the closely packed, largely maskless gathering at the Rose Garden was irresponsible. “You cannot argue against the fact that five or six people who attended that event all got infected, unless you argue that that was all random chance,” said epidemiologist Dr. Yvonne Maldonado.
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