An attendee at the massive annual Conservative Political Action Conference, at which President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence appeared, tested positive for coronavirus, conference organizers announced.
“The American Conservative Union has learned that one of our CPAC attendees has unfortunately tested positive for coronavirus,” the group announced in a statement. “A New Jersey hospital tested the person, and CDC confirmed the positive result. The individual is under the care of medical professionals in the state of New Jersey, and has been quarantined.”
“ACU has been in contact with the Health Department of the State of Maryland, and we will explicitly follow the guidelines from government health experts.” The conference was held in Maryland, just across the border from Washington, D.C.
The patient contracted the virus before traveling to the conference, and came into contact with potentially thousands of attendees, though he did not enter the main hall where Trump and Pence spoke.
However, the patient interacted with Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and, briefly, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Gosar and three of his senior staff had prolonged contact with the patient and are now under self-quarantine. All are asymptomatic as of this report.
Cruz’s interaction reportedly consisted of “a brief conversation and a handshake.”
Although Cruz does not meet the CDC criteria for self-quarantine, the senator office’s says he is doing so “out of an abundance of caution.”
Among the other attendees are many of the leaders and staff of America’s top conservative groups, along with conservative media personalities and Republican members of Congress.
“Our children, spouses, extended family, and friends attended CPAC,” the statement read. “During this time, we need to remain calm, listen to our health care professionals, and support each other. We send this message in that spirit.”
“Any attendee who has questions can contact ACU or the Department of Health of the State of Maryland,” the statement added.
While coronavirus has a relatively low death rate it is more easily transmitted than influenza, meaning the virus could possibly transmit to not just CPAC attendees, but those in contact with CPAC attendees.