The USA has the most corona infections worldwide. Contact restrictions apply in many states. However, the State Department is planning several large celebrations.
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Despite the rapidly rising number of corona infections in the USA, the State Department under department head Mike Pompeo invited 900 guests to a reception in mid-December. US media unanimously reported that 180 ambassadors and an accompanying person were invited to another party with Pompeo and his wife.
The employees of the ministry were instructed in the past week to reduce events to the absolutely necessary minimum or to meet virtually. Pompeo and his chief protocol officer Cam Henderson are said to have broken the rules. The Foreign Ministry is planning larger receptions almost every day for the next few weeks.
Do celebrations become super-spreader events?
The invited guests should be provided with food and drinks. Some health experts were critical of this. The risk of infection is increased, among other things, due to the consumption of food and alcoholic beverages in a confined space, said infectiologist Ian Lipkin from Columbia University in New York of the Washington Post. The events have the potential to become so-called superspreader events. A spokesman for the ministry assured that mask requirements and distance rules should continue to apply at the events.
At an event with President Donald Trump in late September, more than 100 invited guests gathered in the rose garden of the White House. Few wore masks, and there was hardly any space between the chairs. Several participants were then tested positive for Corona.
Violent corona wave in the USA
The corona pandemic hit the USA particularly hard, so the health authorities advise against major events and travel. In the capital Washington, only a maximum of 10 people are currently allowed to meet for an event in a closed room due to the pandemic. Exceptions include religious institutions where up to 50 people are allowed to stay.