Writer: Lois

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, April 30, 2022. Photo: Reuters

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and mainstream media reporters are among the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD) guests who tested COVID-19 positive after the elite Saturday event, followed by parties and a Sunday brunch.

The dinner hosted thousands of guests at the Washington Hilton’s basement-level ballroom, where the White House traditionally holds the event.

According to the US Department of State, Mr Blinken, who is both COVID-19 vaccinated and boosted, tested positive for the virus with a PCR test. He had tested negative several days earlier on Wednesday morning. 

“The Secretary has not seen President Biden in person for several days, and the President is not considered a close contact according to guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,’ reported the State Department. 

The Department added that Mr Blinken is showing mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Mr Blinken was seen at several events across the WHCD weekend, including the main dinner event, the Paramount-CBS after-party held at the French ambassador’s house and a Sunday brunch session hosted by Politico.

At the dinner, comedian and host Trevor Noah joked that the gathering was a superspreader event.

“It is my great honour to be speaking tonight at the nation’s most distinguished superspreader event,” said Mr Noah.

“For real, what are we doing here? Did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron dinner? Nothing?’ he said. Do you read any of your own newspapers?” he continued, referring to the elite Gridiron dinner in early April, where over ten per cent of guests tested COVID-19 positive after the event.

‘You guys spent the last two years telling everyone the importance of wearing masks and avoiding large in-door gatherings, then the second someone offers you a free dinner, you all turn into Joe Rogan.”

Mr Noah also noted that the Biden administration’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Anthony Fauci, decided not to attend the dinner.

“I mean Dr Fauci dropped out, that should have been a pretty big sign,’ Noah went on. ‘Fauci thought it was too dangerous to come tonight. Pete Davidson thinks it’s OK,” said Mr Noah as the audience laughed.

“And we all went with Pete.”

By Tuesday, WHCD guests began testing positive for COVID-19. 

Politico first disclosed ABC News political journalist Jonathan Karl as COVID-19 positive on Monday night.

“He tested positive for COVID Monday night, but tested negative on Saturday afternoon before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner by medically-supervised staff,” a source told Politico.

“He had no symptoms on Saturday. Jon is currently isolating and participating in contact tracing.”

Mr Karl reportedly sat next to celebrity Kim Kardashian, who was with celebrity and boyfriend Pete Davidson, at the main dinner event.

The reporter also interacted with President Joe Biden.

CNN reported on Tuesday that numerous ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News and Politico staff tested COVID-19 positive following the dinner session.

A Washington Post reporter tweeted that she tested positive after attending the dinner and following events.

Although Mr Fauci avoided the WHCD dinner, he attended the Saturday morning Garden Brunch, held outdoors.

The medical advisor also attended the early April Gridiron dinner, another COVID-19 superspreader event hosted by the Gridiron Club, one of the most prestigious journalistic organisations in the US.

However, the Gridiron dinner only asked guests to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before the event.

Meanwhile, WHCD organisers had guests take a COVID-19 antigen test 24 hours before the main event. Attendees then had to upload a photo of their negative COVID test to an app called Bindle.

The Gridiron dinner was also a one-day gathering, while the WHCD is usually followed by an entire weekend of partying beginning from Thursday night, and at least three lavish brunches.

At the annual Creative Coalition dinner, another large-scale event held on Friday night at the YOTEL Washington, guests could only enter the indoor dinner space after testing negative with an on-site rapid antigen COVID-19 test.

President of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) Steven Portnoy defended the COVID-19 testing protocols at the WHCA.

“We worked hard to publicise our protocols and encouraged those eligible to get booster shots in the weeks leading up to the dinner,” stated Mr Portnoy.

“Our event implemented protocols that went beyond any guidance or regulation issued by the CDC or the D.C. health department,” he added.

‘We wish anyone who may not be feeling well a speedy recovery.”

The Daily Mail has sent an inquiry to the WHCA about whether they are keeping a record of positive cases from the event. The association has yet to respond to the request.

Upload Layout: V ontheway (V 在途中)