Roughly a week and a half after getting released from the hospital, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) has published an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal saying that he should have chosen to wear a mask during a Rose Garden ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and during preparations ahead of the first presidential debate.
Christie, who spent a week in the ICU, said he was “very careful about mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing” for seven months, but allowed himself to become complacent on the assumption he would be safe, given his proximity to the president.
“I mistook the bubble of security around the president for a viral safe zone. I was wrong. There is no safe zone from this virus,” he wrote, proceeding to explain that he went from pre-symptomatic to intensive care within 24 hours. (Christie originally claimed he had been hospitalized as a precautionary measure because of his history with asthma).
The former governor said that contracting COVID-19, and hanging on the “thin thread” familiar to “everyone” hospitalized with it, gave him an opportunity for reflection.
When you get this disease, it hits you how easy it is to prevent. We are asked to wear cloth over our mouth and nose, wash our hands and avoid crowds. These minor inconveniences can save your life, your neighbors and the economy. Seldom has so little been asked for so much benefit. Yet the message will be broadly heeded only if it is consistently and honestly delivered by the media, religious leaders, sports figures and public servants. Those in positions of authority have a duty to get the message out.
One of the worst aspects of America’s divided politics is the polarization of something as practical as a mask. It’s not a partisan or cultural symbol, not a sign of weakness or virtue. It’s simply a good method—not a perfect one, but a proven one—to contain a cough or prevent the virus from getting in your mouth or nose. Wear it or you may regret it—as I did.
The former governor noted that he remains a supporter of both “strong public-health measures and rapid reopening,” and ultimately believes in the power of the American public to “overwhelmingly make good health choices” when unnamed partisans in the media and public office don’t send them mixed messages.
Even during a contentious election year, we must trust the American people with the truth. I do believe that we can use this public health tragedy to bring our country together. It is never too late to start. It will take leadership that both challenges and trusts the American people.
It is never comfortable to deliver real criticism that includes yourself. But it was a serious failure for me, as a public figure, to go maskless at the White House. I paid for it, and I hope Americans can learn from my experience. I am lucky to be alive. It could easily have been otherwise.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 22, 2020
President Donald Trump, who was admitted to the hospital on the same day as Christie, was released after three days, following treatment with several drugs, including an experimental antibody cocktail. Christie said he also received an antibody treatment.
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