Health

Antony Blinken Tests Positive For COVID After Attending Ritzy White House Correspondents Dinner

(Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken became the latest attendee of the White House Correspondents Dinner to test positive for COVID-19, the State Department announced Wednesday.

Several people contracted COVID-19 after attending the Saturday dinner, White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) president Steven Portnoy confirmed on Wednesday, although he did not give an exact number. Those included ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl and White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield. Although it is impossible to determine where exactly Blinken contracted the virus, he did attend the dinner as a guest of NBCU.

“The Secretary is fully vaccinated and boosted against the virus and is experiencing only mild symptoms. He tested negative on Tuesday and again as recently as this morning. The Secretary has not seen President Biden in person for several days, and the President is not considered a close contact according to guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Other Biden administration officials also attended as NBCU guests, including CIA director Bill Burns, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, according to Deadline. (RELATED: ‘Most Distinguished Super Spreader’: Trevor Noah Rips Corporate Media, Biden As He Mocks Hypocrisy Of COVID Rules)

Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has repeatedly claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, declined to attend the dinner. He did, however, pose for pictures with CNN host Don Lemon at a pre-dinner brunch.

A bevy of administration officials have tested positive for the virus over the last two months. Press Secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19 on March 22, just before she was set to accompany President Joe Biden to a NATO Summit. Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre contracted COVID-19 upon returning on March 27.

Vice President Kamala Harris came down with the virus in late April. She has since resumed an in-person work schedule.