Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday urged Americans to wear masks to fight the coronavirus that put him in intensive care for seven days, and warned the virus is "something to take very seriously."
Christie was one of a number of people with ties to the White House who tested positive for the coronavirus at around the same time as President Donald Trump.
"I believed that when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that and I and many others underwent every day. I was wrong. I was wrong to not wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the President and the rest of the team," Christie said in a statement obtained by NBC News.
The government's top infectious disease doctor, Anthony Fauci, last week called the Rose Garden event, where few attendees wore masks, a "superspreader event."
The longtime Trump ally said he's now recovered from his illness and appeared to distance himself from the president, who said he felt better that he's felt in decades after getting treated for the virus.
"No one should be happy to get the virus and no one should be cavalier about being infected or infecting others," Christie said. "It is something to take very seriously. The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly."
He also said public officials "have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility."
"When you have seven days in isolation in an ICU though, you have time to do a lot of thinking," Christie said, advocating that people "follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others."
"Every public official, regardless of party or position, should advocate for every American to wear a mask in public, appropriately socially distance and to wash your hands frequently every day. At the same time, we should be reopening in every corner of this nation under these guidelines," Christie said.
"I believe that these two steps can bring our country together while our pharmaceutical companies invent the therapeutics and vaccines which will rid us of this virus," he added.
"While we may seem very divided today, I do believe we can use this public health tragedy to bring us together. It is never too late to start," he said, but "It will take leadership that both challenges and trusts the American people."