U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tested positive for COVID on Wednesday as infections following the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C., continue to rise, news agency MIA informs.
The nation’s top diplomat attended the black tie gala on Saturday at the Washington Hilton along with President Joe Biden and an audience of 2,600 journalists, political heavyweights and celebrities.
“It is my great honor to be speaking tonight at the nation’s most distinguished superspreader event,” host Trevor Noah joked at the event. Biden himself tested negative on Tuesday.
The president is not considered a close contact of Blinken and the two have not met for “several days,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. ABC newsman Jonathan Karl and Steve Herman, a chief national correspondent for Voice of America, tested positive for the virus on Monday. Karl, who shook Biden’s hand while receiving an award, was also sitting at the same table as reality TV star Kim Kardashian and her boyfriend, Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live” acclaim, as first reported by Politico. In the days since WHCD weekend, CNN has reported that reporters and staffers from CNN, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Politico and other participating news organizations have tested positive for the virus.
The WHCA was dogged by some controversy even before the positive tests surfaced. Anthony Fauci withdrew from the event after citing his own “personal risk.” Fauci is 81, just two years older than Biden, raising some critics to question whether the commander-in-chief should have attended. The gala came a month after a similar event, the Gridiron Club gala, which led to at least 72 attendees testing positive.