The White House Correspondents’ Association Super-Spreader Event

Days after the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner held on Saturday night, it’s clear that this was yet another high-profile event among Washington D.C.’s elite Dozens , possibly hundreds, of the more than 2,500 maskless attendees were likely infected with COVID-19 at the dinner and related parties.

Indeed, the dinner was a live-streamed propaganda event designed to falsely portray the pandemic as over. This was stated most bluntly by Biden himself, who remarked in his speech at the event: “I know there are questions about whether we should meet here tonight because of the COVID. Well, we are here to show the country that we are going through this pandemic. »

President Joe Biden speaks at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Washington. [AP Photo/Patrick Semansky]

By gathering more than 2,500 maskless journalists, politicians and celebrities in one room, the White House thought it could send the message that large maskless gatherings are now safe. Instead, the event turned out to be a disaster.

The first confirmed infection was ABC News journalist Jonathan Karl, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday evening. This was followed by an announcement on Tuesday that Voice of America chief national correspondent Steve Herman had also contracted the virus.

On Wednesday morning, CNN reported that an undisclosed number of “reporters and staff from CNN, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Politico and other participating news organizations have tested positive for the virus.”

On Wednesday afternoon, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken became the first White House cabinet official to test positive for COVID-19 after attending the dinner. Blinken also attended a dinner hosted by multimillionaires David and Katherine Bradley, as did CIA Director Bill Burns, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco, Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the press secretary of White House Jen Psaki and several other cabinet officials, as well as journalists. Judy Woodruff, Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer, John Dickerson, Jeffrey Goldberg, David Frum, Anne Applebaum and dozens more.

As of this writing, six WHCA dinner attendees have publicly revealed their positive results, including Karl, Blinken, Herman, journalist Julia Ioffe (she caught COVID-19 for the third time), ABC News President Kimberly Godwin and journalist Jada Yuan.

That the WHCA dinner would be a superspreader event was entirely predictable and anticipated by many scientists. This took place just weeks after the massive superspreader at the Gridiron Club dinner, which officially infected around 10% of all attendees.

Ignoring warnings from experts, the WHCA proceeded with the event under conditions in which the highly infectious and immunoresistant subvariants of Omicron BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 are causing a new wave of infections across the states -United. On Wednesday, News Nodes reported 119,865 new official infections in the United States – the highest one-day figure since February 22 – and a seven-day average of 67,159 new daily cases.

According to New York Times, COVID-19 infections are increasing in 47 states and Puerto Rico, while 40 states and Puerto Rico are seeing an increase in hospitalizations. In New York, one of the first states to be hit by BA.2, hospitalizations have tripled in the past month and topped 2,000 on Tuesday for the first time since late February.

While WHCA dinner attendees were required to show proof of vaccination and had tested negative for COVID-19 that day, they were allowed to use rapid antigen tests, which are more likely to return false negatives than PCR tests.

Elements of self-delusion, recklessness and criminal irresponsibility saturate the WHCA dinner, and it’s hard to tell where the ignorance ends and the betrayal begins. Not only did those present endanger themselves and others. They are also the opinion makers for all major corporate media including ABC, CBS, Fox News, NBC, Washington Post, New York Times, Politics and more.

Throughout the pandemic, each of these outlets has continually misled the public and downplayed the dangers of COVID-19, replicating the anti-science lies of Democrats or Republicans. The WHCA dinner, followed soon after by Monday’s obscene displays of wealth at the Met Gala in New York, are the latest in this increasingly intense propaganda campaign, which has escalated dramatically since the rapid global spread of the Omicron BA.1 sub-variant started in late November.

The presence of White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, who until last month was the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, was particularly shameful at the WHCA dinner. While Dr Anthony Fauci recused himself, hypocritically citing “my individual assessment of my personal risk”, Dr Jha happily took part in the sordid affair.

Aside from the conscious element of deception, many journalists and politicians at the WHCA dinner themselves have no idea of ​​the dangers posed by SARS-CoV-2. These people refuse to listen to science or act on the basis of science. They have been deceived by their own propaganda and class interests, which make their actions increasingly reckless.

Clearly, none of the elites present at the dinner were aware that fully vaccinated people like them can suffer from infectious breakthroughs and have about the same likelihood of developing Long COVID as unvaccinated people.

Several scientists attempted to consult with the WHCA before dinner, to help them install high-quality air filtration devices at the site to minimize airborne transmission, but these efforts were rebuffed. A reporter who brought a carbon dioxide monitor to dinner recorded CO2 levels above 2,200 parts per million, indicating very poor ventilation and an extremely high likelihood of airborne transmission.

From the perspective of the ruling class, the most reckless element of the event was Biden’s personal participation. Biden, 79, has a blood-clotting disorder that requires a drug that likely interacts with and could make him ineligible to take Paxlovid, the highly effective antiviral treatment.

Aware of these dangers, the White House nevertheless opted to have the maskless US president sit at the front of the room for around 90 minutes of speeches, jokes and awards, making his chances of exposure very high.

Jonathan Karl himself shook hands with Biden as he accepted an award. Seeking to downplay the possibility that Biden was infected during this interaction, the White House on Tuesday cited non-scientific CDC guidelines that consider “close contacts” those who spend at least 15 minutes within six feet of a person. infected. However, science has proven long ago that airborne transmission can occur over long distances, especially in a poorly ventilated room with people without masks.

The ostentatious displays of reckless behavior show the level of arrogance that exists within ruling circles in the United States. To a large extent, they really believe the virus is for the little people.

Contrary to the reality facing the American working class, the millionaire journalists and politicians and billionaire media executives attending the WHCA dinner will receive the most advanced treatment available if they become infected with COVID-19. Those who qualify for Paxlovid will get it hand-delivered in the blink of an eye.

For the vast majority of workers, especially the more than 30 million uninsured Americans, accessing treatments like Paxlovid is either a bureaucratic nightmare or downright impossible.

As Biden and comedian Trevor Noah made tasteless jokes about the pandemic at the WHCA dinner, tens of millions of Americans who have lost loved ones are in mourning as another official number tracker deaths in the United States exceeded one million on Wednesday. This gruesome milestone, already reached by other trackers, has gone largely unaddressed by corporate media.

All of the publicity surrounding the WHCA super-spreader dinner has been in the hands of the same politicians and media conglomerates that participated in and helped organize the propaganda show. While fabricating lies about the COVID-19 pandemic, these same reckless and meaningless personalities seek to foment war hysteria and intensify US-NATO imperialism’s push toward direct conflict with Russia over Ukraine. The same people, following the same pragmatic method based on a calculated indifference to social needs, are dragging humanity towards nuclear catastrophe. It is essential that decision-making powers be removed from the hands of these social strata and the capitalist class they serve.

The media-backed bipartisan campaign to proclaim an end to the pandemic makes it clear that the entire ruling class has abandoned the fight against COVID-19 and delivered the American population to endless waves of infection and mass death. This homicidal form of class war must be fought by building a mass movement of the working class, in unity with workers everywhere, fighting for the global elimination of COVID-19.