(CNN) — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday he spent seven days in an intensive care unit before recovering from Covid-19 in a new statement that details the severity of his case and urges people to take the pandemic seriously.
“Having had this virus, I can also assure those who have not had it of a few things. It is something to take very seriously,” Christie said.
“The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly. No one should be happy to get the virus and no one should be cavalier about being infected or infecting others.”
Christie’s warning comes after he tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month and checked himself into Morristown Medical Center as a precautionary measure.
News of his positive diagnosis — which came a day after President Donald Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump had both contracted the virus — followed his assistance to Trump in preparing for the first presidential debate in a series of sessions where no one wore masks.
Christie, who is overweight and asthmatic, had also attended a Supreme Court nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on September 26, now believed to have been a superspreader event.
Both indoors and out, participants at the September 26 event were observed without masks and not practicing recommended social distancing measures. At least 12 attendees tested positive after attending.
Reflecting on his own thought process before contracting the virus, Christie conceded Thursday that he had believed “when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that and I and many others underwent every day.
“I was wrong,” he said
“I was wrong to not wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the President and the rest of the team. I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.”
The warning from Christie stands in stark contrast to Trump’s message since testing positive himself.
After departing from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month, the President told his followers the virus that had hospitalized him for 72 hours was nothing to fear before posing for a mask-less photo op on the White House balcony.
“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump had written several hours before walking carefully out the hospital’s front doors, even as his doctors warned that he wasn’t yet “out of the woods.”
Noting that the US “may seem very divided today,” Christie ended his statement Thursday with a call to action — urging people to follow best public health practices while reopening as many businesses as possible.
“It is never too late to start. It will take leadership that both challenges and trusts the American people,” he said. “After all, we are America, the world’s greatest hope.”