“Everyone was vaccinated, everyone was masked, except when he spoke,” he said. “But we also went to restaurants and did other things, and I didn’t get infected, so I feel really good about that.”
Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist who leads a new program on pandemic preparedness at Brown University’s School of Public Health, said she recently attended a large indoor conference and was one of the few to wear masks. She didn’t get Covid-19 and doesn’t want to, but, she said, “I’m not rearranging my life to avoid it either.”
Everyone has a different risk tolerance, and experts say it’s important not to judge others’ choices. But the president, who is the president, has a duty to the public not to get sick, said Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of NYU Langone’s Department of Medical Ethics. He said Mr. Biden should not attend the dinner and tick off the reasons in an email.
“He is at high risk and holds a very high position in wartime,” wrote Dr. Caplan, adding: “He has to be hyper-secure. The correspondent dinner is highly optional. Now that the VP is sick, he really needs to protect himself. His office has a duty of precaution.”
Ms Psaki admitted that Mr Biden could contract Covid, adding that if he did, the White House would be “very transparent” about it. She said the White House is taking numerous precautions — in addition to those of most workplaces — to protect Mr Biden, including social distancing, regular testing and wearing masks during meetings.
Still, she also noted that the president has been traveling more recently, having concluded that getting into the country was “vital for him, for his presidency, for the American people.”
Still, there’s an uneasy feeling here — and a concern that a gathering of 2,600 people, including journalists and politicians who have warned about the dangers of the pandemic for more than two years, might not be the best look.