Fauch, Biden’s chief infectious disease expert and Biden’s chief medical adviser, did not directly criticize Biden or other officials, and people without records said his mention of the Correspondents’ Dinner came as part of a broader call. Health experts stress that the fight against the pandemic is still ongoing.
But Fauch was criticized for appearing to oppose a more relaxed stance on dinner by the White House and Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jaha, who attended the dinner and also attended Thursday’s call.
“I look back, I wonder what the hell was going on in the mind of fear at that moment,” one of the people called to POLITICO told.
Jaham did not respond to Fauch’s remarks during the meeting, people on call said. On Friday, a White House spokesman pointed to Jha’s comments in a televised April 17 interview that large events, such as correspondents’ lunches, could be held safely.
“I do not think such measures should be repealed,” Jham told Fox News. “I think if people put in good protection, they can make it significantly safer, make sure people are vaccinated, make sure you get tested, improve ventilation. These are the strategies we have learned over the last two years. ”
Jham reiterated this belief in a speech on the NBC show “Today” on Friday, attributing to the White House Correspondents Association “what we know makes the event safer.”
Fauch’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. But a man familiar with his remarks stressed that Fauch did not directly think about the wisdom of holding an annual press conference dinner – and that the event was not at a briefing on Thursday. On the contrary, his comments reflected a broader concern that the nation should continue to fight Kovid and protect the vulnerable.
The Biden administration conducted periodic recordings with prominent health experts and commentators to provide updates and feedback on its Covid response. Thursday afternoon’s call initially focused on the need for more funding from Covid, though the discussion also addressed capital and public announcements concerns.
Fauchi, 81, had previously chosen not to attend the event at his own personal risk. Still, Biden and First Lady Jill Biden – both in their 70s – went to the section, as did other senior administration officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorca. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein was also present and was one of the few who wore a mask while there.
The White House in the days leading up to the dinner reduced concerns about attending a 2,500-person gathering during the pandemic, stressing that everyone was making a personal decision and stressing the availability of vaccines and the treatment needed to prevent serious illness.
Since then, several attendees have tested positive, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, though it is unclear whether they became infected at various dinners or weekend parties.
The White House Correspondents Association requested that all attendees be vaccinated and have a negative test document. In a statement, WHCA President Stephen Portnoy told POLITICO that the organization had “implemented protocols that go beyond any reference or regulation issued” [Centers for Disease Control] Or DC Department of Health.
Yet the decision to hold the dinner for the first time since the pandemic hit the United States has received increasing attention as Covid cases have once again risen nationally. The average daily new infections has doubled since early April, and CDC data show that hospitalization is also increasing. While few expect the next peak compared to the winter solstice, health experts believe that cases may continue to increase with the spread of more Omicron subtypes.
This return by Covid has also complicated the pandemic message for the White House, which wants to overcome a public health crisis and an era that is more focused on disease management. Biden’s health officials, including JHA, have tried to overcome the difficult double message that Covid is no longer a serious threat to most Americans – but that the nation must take precautions to prevent the virus from returning.
The day before the correspondents’ dinner, Fauci told PBS NewsHour that the country was in a “pandemic phase” – only to find out later that although the US was in better shape, it had not emerged from the pandemic at all.
Those on the call on Thursday described Fauch as taking on an even more urgent tone, and at one point claimed that those who returned to normal life without caring for vulnerable populations were “irresponsible.”
Fauch was personally concerned about the message sent by the WHCA Dinner
Source link Fauch was personally concerned about the message sent by the WHCA Dinner