Unknown number of reporters catch COVID after White House Correspondents' Dinner

The dinner required proof of vaccination and a same-day negative test, and boosters were strongly encouraged, however masking was optional

The National Post 2 minute read May 4, 2022

US President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with South African comedian Trevor Noah during the White House Correspondents Association gala at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2022. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

A number of reporters from CNN, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Politico, and other news organizations have tested positive for COVID-19 since the White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place on April 30, the president of the correspondents association said on Tuesday.

Among those who tested positive after the event of 2,600 attendees are ABC News’s chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl, who shook hands with President Joe Biden, and chief national correspondent for Voice of America Steve Herman.

Update: Feeling increasingly achy today (less than 72 hours after #WHCD2022) so just self-administered a #COVID19 antigen rapid test. https://t.co/YneTnPi7hY pic.twitter.com/vNFecyzGMW — Steve Herman (@W7VOA) May 3, 2022

Though the exact number of infections from the gala is unknown, Steven Portnoy, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and CBS News’ White House reporter, said the cases he knew of so far numbered in the “single digits.”

“We worked hard to publicize our protocols and encouraged those eligible to get booster shots in the weeks leading up to the dinner,” Portnoy told CNN. “Our event implemented protocols that went beyond any guidance or regulation issued by the CDC or the DC health department. We wish anyone who may not be feeling well a speedy recovery.”

The dinner required proof of vaccination and a same-day negative test, and boosters were strongly encouraged, however masking was optional.

“Did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron dinner?” joked the dinner’s host and comedian Trevor Noah.

Just last month, more than a dozen A-list guests, including two Cabinet members, two members of Congress and a top aide to Vice President Harris, tested positive for COVID-19 after the Gridiron dinner in Washington, D.C.

“Do you read any of your own newspapers?” Noah quipped. “You guys spent the last two years telling everyone the importance of wearing masks and avoiding large indoor gatherings. Then the second someone offers you a free dinner, you all turn into Joe Rogan.”

A maskless Biden praised the safety precautions around the event.

“We’re here to show the country that we’re getting through this pandemic,” he told the crowd.