The response to the new coronavirus outbreak in the United States is disrupting society in myriad ways, and has now led to the cancellation of a cherished annual tradition at the White House.
First Lady Melania Trump sadly announced that the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, a tradition that dates all the way back to 1878, will not take place as initially scheduled this year due to an “abundance of caution.”
“I deeply regret this cancellation”
The annual event, hosted by the first lady, in which children play games and search for Easter eggs on the White House lawn was set to take place on April 13. Then everything changed as COVID-19 began to spread in the U.S.
Unfortunately, as per a media release on Monday by the White House, the beloved event has been canceled for this year.
“The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,” the first lady said in the statement. “I deeply regret this cancellation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short-term to ensure a healthy country for the long-term.”
“During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone,” she added.
CDC discourages large gatherings
The cancellation of the annual event is in keeping with the recommendations put forward by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with regard to mitigating the risks of COVID-19 infection and further spread of the contagious disease.
Specifically, the CDC has called for the cancellation of any large event or mass gathering that would draw crowds in excess of 250 people.
In fact, the CDC has suggested that any sort of public gathering contain no more than 50 individuals and has even gone so far as to suggest that no more than 10 people should gather together if higher-risk individuals — such as the elderly or those with underlying health issues — could be impacted by participants.
Setting an example
It is unclear just how many attendees were expected to participate in this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll event, but odds are it would have been several dozens, if not hundreds, of adults and children congregating together — and potentially passing along germs and viruses.
Sad though this announcement may be, it was the right decision by first lady Melania Trump, both to help keep prospective attendees safe as well as to provide an example to the American people of how even the White House must make sacrifices in order to comply with the safety guidelines imposed on the rest of the country.
In the meantime, she has a suggestion for those who are struggling with the new normal: “Consider taking advantage of time working from home to connect with your loved ones via email or FaceTime, spend time w family, or work on your well-being by reading a book or spending time on a hobby,” the first lady tweeted on Tuesday. Good advice.