West Point Cadets Returning To Campus For Graduation Ceremony Test Positive For COVID-19
A West Point graduating class of around 1,000 cadets was returned to campus despite controversy, in order to participate in a ceremony at which Trump would provide a commencement address. As the cadets returned in advance of the event, each was required to undergo testing for the coronavirus. Several of those have tested positive for the virus, and are now in isolation.
The New York Times reported in March that, despite concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump had announced, to the surprise of many, including West Point officials and students, that he would be giving a commencement speech at an in-person ceremony. This was even as the Naval Academy announced a virtual ceremony, and the Air Force Academy changed its graduation plans to protect participants.
Trump retweeted a denial of this, saying that he had been invited, and intended to show up.
They asked me to be at West Point on June 13th., & I will be there! https://t.co/NFHItMBbKy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2020
There was criticism for the decision, which would mean hundreds of cadets who had been sent to their homes around the nation would return to gather in a large group for an on-campus event, while the CDC continues to prescribe social distancing and avoiding mass gatherings to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
According to CNN, part of this prediction has been realized, as about 1.5% of returning cadets turned out to be positive for the coronavirus, but asymptomatic. However, preemptive action was taken to prevent the virus from spreading throughout the graduating class and being, in turn, taken back to homes across the country.
All cadets who tested positive have been isolated, and a U.S. Army spokesperson assured CNN that none of the individuals contracted the disease while under the army’s care. There has been no public statement, at this time, about how many people may have been exposed as cadets traveled back to campus for the event, which currently remains scheduled for Saturday, June 13.