The days following the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner held last weekend in Washington, D.C. have seen a headline-making number of COVID-19 cases arising among those who were in attendance, as The Hill reports, likely to the great dismay of Biden administration officials.
As the outlet noted, well-known guests at the dinner who have since tested positive for coronavirus infection include Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Jonathan Karl of ABC News, and a spate of journalists from other media organizations.
Though it is unclear whether any or all of the cases linked to the event weekend have been traced to the dinner itself or the countless parties that bookend the soirée, the outbreak has made waves among those who had voiced skepticism about the wisdom of holding the crowded, indoor affair, which did not take place in 2020 or 2021 as a result of the pandemic.
As The Hill noted separately in advance of the event, the White House announced that President Joe Biden would skip the meal portion of the evening’s itinerary and was considering wearing a mask inside the venue when not delivering his prepared remarks.
Late last month, top Biden COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci declared that he would not attend the correspondents’ dinner, as NBC News reported at the time, citing ongoing concerns about viral spread.
Fauci, 81, said with regard to the decision that it was “because of my individual assessment of my personal risk.”
Interestingly, however, the Daily Mail reported that Fauci was photographed maskless and mingling with CNN’s Don Lemon, among others, at a pre-party ahead of the main event.
While reports of a rise in positive cases among those who attended the dinner and associated pre-parties may be viewed by some as vindication of the scare-mongering favored by the likes of Fauci, George Washington University public health professor Leana Wen had a different takeaway, according to The Hill.
Suggesting that the aftermath of the correspondents’ dinner “shows what living with COVID-19 looks like,” Wen added that “the key metric that we should be looking at here is are people getting severely ill,” and according to reports available to date, nobody who attended the event and ultimately tested positive has required hospitalization.