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Dallas-area Pastor Jack Graham opts not to follow CDC guidelines in wake of Rose Garden COVID exposure

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Updated Oct. 5 at 8:15 p.m. to include additional information.

WASHINGTON — Dallas-area megachurch Pastor Jack Graham has declined to follow medical guidelines despite being in close contact with people who have since tested positive for the coronavirus after a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony, telling his congregation, “I am ridiculously healthy.”

The 70-year-old leader of Prestonwood Baptist Church attended the ceremony at the White House where President Donald Trump formally announced his nomination of conservative Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. Since the event, at least 10 attendees have tested positive for the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was photographed sitting directly behind Graham. Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., was sitting next to Graham and also later tested positive.

Graham, Laurie and Christie were among the vast majority of people not wearing a mask at the

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White House is not contact tracing Rose Garden event and rejected CDC offer to track down those exposed to Trump: Reports

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As President Trump battles COVID-19, some said the White House is not doing enough to trace those who might have come in contact with him or been otherwise exposed to the virus at the White House.



Donald Trump in a suit standing in front of a building


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At least eight people might have been infected at a Sept. 26 Rose Garden event to celebrate the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Despite this, the president’s team decided not to trace the contacts of the staff members and guests who attended the event, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing the account of a senior White House official.

Instead, reports indicated the White House has chosen only to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which specify that contact tracing efforts should be pursued for those who had “close contact” to someone with COVID-19 within two days of their diagnosis.

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Why Won’t the White House Let the CDC Contact Trace Its Rose Garden Event?

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But Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court.

—Edgar Allen Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”

It is now more than a week since the White House hosted a Rose Garden ceremony to announce and celebrate the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. More than a dozen people who attended have tested positive for Covid since then, including the president of the United States, his campaign manager Bill Stepien, and his press secretary Kayleigh McEnamy, making this a possible “superspreader event.”

The Centers for Disease Control, standing by to send in a contact tracing team, has been rebuffed. In any other administration, we would call that very odd. In this administration, we call it unsurprising. Dr. Sean Conley

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