Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has a new commentary out in the Wall Street Journal imploring Americans to wear masks.
The piece is a mea culpa for Christie, a Republican who attended the White House Rose Garden nomination ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Christie admits that after months of taking precautions, he went maskless at the ceremony. He has asthma.
Christie Attended Rose Garden ‘Super Spreader’ Event
Christie clearly believes he caught the coronavirus at that ceremony. More than 200 people attended it. They sat in rows of closely packed chairs with no social distancing.
Further, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has called the ceremony a “super spreader event.” Fauci said people were crowded together without masks, and “the data [about subsequent cases] speak for themselves.”
Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) all attended the ceremony and later came down with coronavirus. So did former White House aide Kellyanne Conway, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Pastor Greg Laurie and Notre Dame President John Jenkins.
In the commentary, Christie says it took four days for symptoms to set in. He ended up spending a week in the intensive-care unit. But he notes that he had the advantage of good insurance, a quality hospital and the latest treatments.
Polarization Over Masks
“We are asked to wear cloth over our mouth and nose, wash our hands and avoid crowds,” Christie writes. “These minor inconveniences can save your life, your neighbors and the economy. Seldom has so little been asked for so much benefit. Yet the message will be broadly heeded only if it is consistently and honestly delivered by the media, religious leaders, sports figures and public servants.”
Christie laments the political polarization that has sprung up over face masks. He lays the blame for that divide with partisan media and mixed messages from officials.
But he also warns that “those who deny the scientific realities of the pandemic” are undermining society’s ability to reopen. Christie remains an advocate of reopening the economy in tandem with public health measures. He does not say whether he advocates reopening when cases are rising rapidly, as they are across the U.S. now.
“It was a serious failure for me, as a public figure, to go maskless at the White House,” Christie concludes. “I paid for it, and I hope Americans can learn from my experience.”