OK, those wide shots are giving me goosebumps.
After a two-year hiatus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD) is finally back — and it’s the first time since 2016 that a sitting president has attended the event. But with COVID-19 cases still popping up all over the Washington, people are speculating on coronavirus safety measures. These tweets about the 2022 White House Correspondents’ Dinner all ask the same question: Is the event safe?
The flashy dinner, known as “nerd prom,” is an opportunity for journalists, celebrities, and (of course) politicians to intermingle with one another. Indeed, it’s also an opportunity for attendees’ germs to intermingle with one another as well. As one of the biggest events in Washington, the April 30 dinner boasts around 2,600 audience members, per The New York Times, and from the looks of photos and videos from the event, hardly any of them seem to be wearing face coverings. However, the event’s organizers are taking several precautions to ensure safety amid the ongoing pandemic, such as requiring attendees to be vaccinated, and to provide proof of a same-day negative COVID test.
These precautions didn’t keep comedian and event host Trevor Noah from cracking a few jokes about the circumstances. “It is my great honor to be speaking tonight at the nation's most distinguished super spreader event,” Noah quipped. “For real, people, what are we doing here? Let’s be honest, what are we doing? Like, did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron dinner? Nothing?” The Gridiron Dinner, held on April 2, turned into a super spreader event as 72 people tested positive for COVID-19 after attending.
Noah also noted how Dr. Anthony Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president — opted out of attending the event. “I mean, Dr. Fauci dropped out. That should’ve been a pretty big sign. Fauci thought it was too dangerous to come tonight, [but] Pete Davidson thought it was OK.” While Noah was joking, people all over the internet seemed to share concerns about the dinner turning into another super spreader event.
President Joe Biden acknowledged the public’s speculation in his speech, and assured audiences that the proper precautions had been taken for the event. “Tonight, we come here to answer a very important question on everybody’s mind: Why in the hell are we still doing this?” Biden said. “I know there are questions about whether we should gather here tonight because of COVID. Well, we’re here to show the country that we’re getting through this pandemic,” he added. “Plus, everyone had to prove they’re fully vaccinated and boosted.”
After two years of a pandemic, IDEK what normalcy is anymore. But I do know that vaccinated and boostered is a good step towards finding out again. Whether you’re planning to attend a massive social event or not.