The vice-chairman of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee was hospitalized with Covid-19 days after attending a White House Hanukkah party, he said in an interview with CNN affiliate WCVB.
Massachusetts GOP official Tom Mountain said he felt fine when he went to the December 9 event. Mountain said that earlier in the pandemic he “felt as though (he) was invincible” and didn’t “have to wear a mask the entire time.”
“The fact of the matter is, I was basking in the glow of a major White House event, to which I was invited, and three nights later I’m in the hospital in the emergency room,” he told WCVB.
“Once you get into the main ballroom people — they’re eating, they’re mingling, they’re getting pictures taken with the celebrities that are there. So very few people were wearing masks.”
It’s not certain that Mountain contracted the virus at that event. Health experts say the typical incubation period for Covid-19 is up to 14 days, and patients typically show symptoms within five days of exposure. Research shows people are most contagious in the days before they show symptoms — if they show them at all.
What the White House says: Neither the White House nor the East Wing responded to CNN’s request for comment. In a statement earlier in December, East Wing chief of staff Stephanie Grisham said attending the White House holiday events would be a “very personal choice.”
Grisham said the Christmas and Hannukah celebrations would have smaller guest lists, masks would be provided, and social distancing would be encouraged. But images from multiple parties viewed by CNN showed that many attendees did not wear masks.
What happened to Mountain: Mountain said he was hospitalized twice after contracting the virus, telling WCVB he came close to being put on a ventilator.
The experience has given him a new outlook. “When you go in with the Covid, you don’t know if you’re going to come out.”
“This is not the flu, this is not the common cold. This is something which is deadly serious, and it can have deadly consequences.”
According to WCVB, four members of Mountain’s family were also infected.
CNN has made multiple attempts to reach Mountain and the Massachusetts GOP.