A large group of people close together for the president’s July 3 event goes against coronavirus best practices, the top infectious disease expert said.
Anthony Fauci discouraged Americans from attending events like President Donald Trump’s upcoming fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, pointing out that a large gathering of people in close proximity goes against best practices for stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
After being asked Wednesday by @jessicayellin on Instagram for his message regarding the July 3 event, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said: “You should avoid whenever possible gathering in crowds where people cannot maintain physical distance.”
“Avoid crowds, wear a mask, keep physical distance,” Fauci continued. “It doesn’t matter what the reason for the congregation, whether it’s a celebration here, the demonstration there. It doesn’t make any difference — wear a mask.”
Trump’s fireworks display on Mount Rushmore has already garnered fierce backlash for its disregard for social-distancing measures. More than 7,000 people are expected to attend. Native American leaders have also criticized the event for making use of land sacred to some Native nations, as well as opening the potential for more infections.
The demonstration will include a flyover and fireworks, with musical and ceremonial support from the Defense Department. The celebration will be part of a larger series of Independence Day events, culminating with a “Salute to America“ at the National Mall.
Fauci has previously warned that the U.S. is “not in total control“ of the coronavirus pandemic, as the country surges in infections relative to other nations. He went so far as to say the U.S. risked 100,000 new infections per day unless new safeguards were implemented. More than 2.68 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with coronavirus, and more than 128,000 have died.