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How and where Tillis could have contracted coronavirus

Posted October 3, 2020 11:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 4, 2020 7:02 a.m. EDT

— Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis tested positive for coronavirus less than one day after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump's announcement that they also had the virus. But where did Tillis contract it?

Just this past week, Tillis has been in several public spaces, like meet-and-greets, campaigning for re-election to the Senate. After his diagnosis, Tillis is now in isolation. On Saturday evening, a representative for his campaign said Tillis had "mild symptoms" and was "in good spirits." Tillis said Friday he would self-isolate for 10 days at home. ​

"Senator Tillis continues to self-isolate at home in North Carolina and has mild symptoms, no fever, and he is in great spirits," the statement said. "Thom and his wife, Susan, are grateful for the prayers and well wishes they've received from North Carolinians."

Susan Tillis has tested negative for coronavirus.

Here's a timeline of events before his positive result:

  • Last Saturday, Tillis attended an outdoor ceremony at the White House announcing Amy Coney Barrett as the U.S. Supreme Court nominee to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • On Monday, Susan Tillis attended a rally in Wake County that featured Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump.
  • On Tuesday, the senator tweeted a photo after visiting Parker's BBQ in Greenville for a roundtable discussion with local law enforcement leaders. On Wednesday, he met with Barrett on Capitol Hill.
  • On Thursday, Tillis participated in a Senate debate sponsored by Spectrum News with Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, who said Saturday he has tested negative for the virus.

Cameron Wolfe, infectious disease expert at Duke University School of Medicine, said the Rose Garden event Tillis attended could be classified as a "super spreader event."

"Unfortunately, we should expect there will be more people that turn positive in his inner circle," Wolfe said.

A senior administration official told CNN that "it seems highly likely" that the outbreak of coronavirus cases came from Trump's Rose Garden event last week.

"The next major concern will be securing Capitol Hill and protecting lawmakers," the official said.

As of Sunday morning, 7 people who attended the Rose Garden event, including Trump, have since tested positive for the virus.

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