GOP official hospitalised twice with Covid since attending White House Hanukkah party

Oliver O'Connell
·2 min read
The White House is seen behind the newly lit National Menorah during a ceremony in President’s Park just south of the White House on 10 December, 2020 (Getty Images)
The White House is seen behind the newly lit National Menorah during a ceremony in President’s Park just south of the White House on 10 December, 2020 (Getty Images)

The vice chairman of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee has been hospitalised twice since contracting Covid-19 at a White House holiday party in early December.

Tom Mountain told The Boston Globe: “I didn’t listen to the warnings of my own family, and now I’m paying the price.”

Mr Mountain attended the annual White House Hanukkah party on 9 December at which very few people wore a face mask, despite surging cases of the coronavirus.

“No one can ever say for sure exactly where they got it, but I’ll say this: Before the party, I was in perfectly good health,” he said. “Three days later, I was in the hospital with Covid, and it was all downhill from there.”

Over 100 people attended the party in the East Wing of the executive mansion — the first of two Hanukkah celebrations in order to keep numbers down.

While partygoers were required to wear masks while waiting in line to enter the event, once inside they were not. There were also no temperature checks or similar precautions, and a banquet was served.

Mr Mountain took a test to comply with state law on his return to Massachusetts a couple of days after the party.

When the results came back his condition was “deteriorating rapidly” and the following morning he spent the day in the emergency room at Brigham And Women’s Hospital in Boston.

He was discharged, but his condition worsened again and he returned to hospital the following week.

“It’s not fun,” he said.” I came very close — not once but twice — to them hooking me up to a ventilator.”

As he recovers at home, Mr Mountain told the paper that he has good days and bad days, horrible coughing fits, and sweats profusely. At times he could not even speak on the phone.

Mr Mountain felt that he needed to attend the event both as the state party’s vice chairman, and as the vice chairman of the state’s Republican Jewish Committee. He was the only attendee from Massachusetts.

He admits that his wife was strongly against him going to the party and refused to go herself. Now she, their son, daughter-in-law, and his mother-in-law have all tested positive for the virus.

Mr Mountain says he is now “zealous” about mask wearing and has “no doubt about their necessity”.

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