(CNN) — Dr. Anthony Fauci said he is “absolutely not” surprised President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19 after seeing him surrounded by people not wearing face masks and flouting best public health practices.
Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said during an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, “I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded — no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask.”
“When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come out of that, that’s got to be a problem,'” he continued.
“And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event.”
Fauci appeared to be referencing the Rose Garden event where Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett was his pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. At least 12 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the Sept. 26 event.
Even though the ceremony was held outdoors and many attendees were tested before being allowed in, photos and videos of the event showed few people wearing masks, many people greeting each other with hugs and handshakes, and people mingling and sitting very closely.
There were also smaller, private gatherings inside the White House that did not include the mask-wearing or social distancing that public health experts have advised is essential to stopping the spread of the virus.
Fauci had previously labeled the event as a “superspreader” — noting the lack of public health measures in place and the slate of positive tests that followed.
“The data speak for themselves,” he said.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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