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Kayleigh McEnany calls celebrations for Joe Biden 'superspreader events'

Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY
·3 min read
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White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany ripped the celebrations that occurred after news spread of President-elect Joe Biden's victory, calling them "superspreader events" and asking Biden to denounce them.

Shortly after major news networks projected that Biden would win, backers of the Democrat took the streets around the United States in celebration, honking horns, popping champagne, and gathering at landmarks, including the White House.

However, the gatherings came on a day where 126,742 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the U.S., the third day in a row the total exceeded 120,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

Many who gathered at the various events appear to have worn face masks but were not social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people keep 6 feet apart from those whom they do not live with when outside their homes. "The mask is not a substitute for social distancing," the CDC also says on its website.

"Where is @JoeBiden calling on the massive Super Spreader events held in his name to end," McEnany tweeted, sharing a video of the massive crowd that had gathered outside the White House in Black Lives Matter Plaza in support of Biden.

Biden won, a nation reacted: This is what a historic day in the US looked like.

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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris tweeted Sunday that "COVID-19 is still here. Please continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing."

While it's unknown whether the gatherings Saturday will lead to an uptick in COVID-19 cases as the U.S. is already facing another surge, Black Lives Matter protests in many cities around the country earlier this summer do not appear to have been linked to coronavirus surges.

The CDC and other public health officials have said wearing a mask and social distancing are two of the main ways to stop the spread of COVID-19, but if social distance is not kept, being outside rather than inside is generally safer.

However, if the celebrations were to lead to a spike in cases, they wouldn't be the first "superspreader" event in Washington, D.C.

At an event in the Rose Garden to announce the nomination of then-Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, more than 200 people, most not wearing face coverings, gathered and sat inches apart. Videos and photos showed Republican senators and White House officials not keeping 6-feet of distance and also gathering inside while unmasked.

More on White House COVID-19 cases: Contact tracing and visualizing the people exposed to COVID-19 by Trump outbreak

McEnany and at least dozens more linked to the event tested positive for COVID-19 in the days that followed, and thousands more people may have been exposed, a USA TODAY investigation found.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the Rose Garden event a "super spreader," saying "the data speak for themselves."

Trump has also faced criticism from many Democrats while campaigning for holding large rallies where many of his supporters were not wearing masks or social distancing.

Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kayleigh McEnany called Joe Biden celebrations 'superspreader events'