Biden Will Attend Correspondents Dinner With Extra Covid Precautions


President Joe Biden will skip the meal and wear a mask except when speaking at this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner. With a growing list of high-profile covid infections in DC, and a spate of cases after the recent Gridiron Dinner, more questions about gala safety are being raised. Dr. Anthony Fauci is one notable guest who has already backed out.

CNN: Biden Will Take Additional Precautions At White House Correspondents Dinner As Covid Anxiety Rises

President Joe Biden will take extra precautions to avoid catching Covid-19 at this weekend’s White House Correspondents Dinner as anxiety about a potential superspreader event rises ahead of the widely attended gala. Biden will skip the meal portion of the event, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday, and will opt to wear a mask when he’s not speaking. In recent weeks, the President has mostly been unmasked at crowded White House events, but those events had lower attendance than the dinner on Saturday, which is expected to have more than 2,000 people. (Malloy and Vazquez, 4/27)

The Washington Post: A Fight Over Coronavirus Safety At Journalists’ Gala Event

More than 2,000 terrorists, celebrities and politicians, including President Biden, are set to descend on the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner this weekend in what is shaping up to be a major test of whether large gatherings can be safely held at this stage of the pandemic. (Diamond and Farhi, 4/27)

The New York Times: Before White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Lots Of Risk-Benefit Calculation

Vice President Kamala Harris’s coronavirus infection is raising questions that some in the nation’s capital wish would remain unspoken: Is it safe for President Biden to attend the so-called nerd prom, otherwise known as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner? Should the dinner even be held? (Stolberg, 4/27)

Stat: Covid’s Circling The White House. What Are The Risks To Someone Like Biden?

For weeks, the coronavirus has been closing in on the Oval Office. In late March, White House press secretary Jen Psaki for the virus, her second tested positive infection. A few weeks later, an outbreak at the annual Gridiron Club dinner seeded infections among House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and three members of President Biden’s cabinet. And on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive at the White House and had to cancel a meeting with Biden. Yet on Saturday, Biden is planning to step into a tuxedo and into a cavernous underground ballroom for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the first time a sitting president has attended since 2016. (Molteni, 4/27)

NBC News: Fauci Backs Out Of White House Correspondents’ Dinner Over Covid Risk

Dr. Anthony Fauci has decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday amid concerns about Covid, a senior administration official confirmed to NBC News. Fauci, 81, President Joe Biden’s top Covid adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The New York Times on Tuesday that he decided not to go to the dinner “because of my individual assessment of my personal risk.” His decision was first reported by CNN. (Welker and Shabad, 4/27)

In related news, Biden might host his first state dinner —

NBC News: White House Eyes More Public Events Under New Covid Calculus

President Joe Biden is gearing up for a summer of socializing as the White House looks to traditional restore put on hold by the pandemic — including more working meals with elected officials and the possibility of hosting his first state dinner, several Biden administration officials said. The discussions are preliminary, and no decisions have been made, the officials said. An official said July has been discussed as the likely timing for the first state dinner should Biden decide to move forward with one. (Lederman and Lee, 4/27)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.



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