By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
SATURDAY, Oct. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Even as the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Friday that the White House experienced a “superspreader” event in the Rose Garden last month, President Donald Trump announced he will hold his first public event at the White House since testing positive for the coronavirus a week ago.
The Saturday event, which will have Trump speaking from a balcony to a crowd of supporters on the South Lawn, has already caused concern among some officials in the White House, which has been rocked by an outbreak following Trump’s diagnosis, the Washington Post reported.
Trump’s medical team has not yet released the results of Trump’s latest COVID-19 test, so it was unclear whether Trump is still contagious, the Post reported. But Trump has ignored his advisers’ calls for caution, the newspaper reported, instead playing down the virus and using his own battle with it to argue that the nation has already overcome the pandemic.
“I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet, but I’ve been retested,” he said. “And I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.” He added that he has been tested for the virus “every couple of days or so.”
The lack of a negative test did not stop Trump from claiming to be cured and working from the Oval Office on Friday afternoon. Trump has been eager to escape the confines of the White House and return to his crowded rallies with the election just over three weeks away, the Post reported.
Despite Trump’s defiant stance, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News Friday night that, “I think the data speaks for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”
Upper Midwest hit hard by coronavirus
Meanwhile, the new coronavirus is striking the Upper Midwest with a vengeance, as Wisconsin and the Dakotas became COVID-19 hotspots and health officials scrambled for hospital beds on Thursday.
After months where residents of those states downplayed the virus and rejected mask requirements, all three now lead all other states in new cases per capita, the Associated Press reported.
“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” said Melissa Resch, a nurse at Wisconsin’s Aspirus Wausau Hospital, which is working to add beds and reassign staff to keep up with a rising caseload of seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
“Just yesterday I had a patient say, ‘It’s OK, you guys took good care of me, but it’s OK to let me go,'” Resch told the AP. “I’ve cried with the respiratory unit, I’ve cried with managers. I cry at home. I’ve seen nurses crying openly in the hallway.”
What is unfolding in the Upper Midwest mirrors what has happened in other parts of the country since the pandemic began. In the spring, New York City hastily built field hospitals as