Dr. Anthony Fauci privately criticized the decision to hold the White House Correspondents’ Dinner while speaking on a call with public health experts on Thursday afternoon.
POLITICO reports that the chief medical advisor to the President expressed frustration with the growing awareness that the pandemic is effectively over and said he feared people are losing sight of the need to continue protecting the nation’s most vulnerable.
The outlet reports that Fauci singled it out as a troubling sign that many Americans no longer view COVID as a serious threat, but did not directly criticize Biden or other officials — the White House Correspondents’ Association required all attendees to be vaccinated and show proof of a negative test for attendance to the event.
While the dinner featured thousands of guests and was held inside a ballroom, Fauci questioned why so many people felt comfortable gathering maskless indoors with a new surge of COVID cases.
WHCA President Steven Portnoy told POLITICO that the organization “implemented protocols that went beyond any guidance or regulation issued by the [Centers for Disease Control] or the D.C. Health Department.”
POLITICO reports that Fauci’s comments were noteworthy because they appeared to be distinctly different than the relaxed stance toward the dinner taken by the White House and Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha — Jha attended the dinner and was also present on the Thursday call.
On Thursday’s call with public health experts, Fauci took a more urgent tone, with Fauci saying those who were returning to their normal lives without concern for vulnerable populations were “irresponsible,” POLITICO reports.
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