Speed Reads

chicken with a side of covid

Multiple D.C. insiders test positive for COVID after annual Gridiron Dinner

A Saturday dinner party featuring A-list attendees like infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) seems to have served up more than just a hot meal.

A number of guests at this weekend's annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington have since tested positive for COVID-19, meaning the small and elite bipartisan event — comprised of politicians, journalists, and public officials — might have an outbreak on its hands, The Washington Post reports Wednesday.

As of Tuesday morning, attendees Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) had both tested positive, as had Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. A number of journalists and members of the White House and National Security Council staff also tested positive following the dinner, the Post writes.

The roughly 630 guests were required to show proof of vaccination to attend, Gridiron Club president Tom DeFrank told the Post. Other invitees included Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), and New York mayor Eric Adams (D).

President Biden did not attend the event in person, but made a video cameo instead.

The mostly-maskless dinner was "supposed to reflect a return to normalcy," the Post writes. Guests sat together at "long narrow tables for hours, and watched satirical skits and songs performed by members." When the evening was over, attendees held hands to sing "Auld Lang Syne."

The Gridiron event comes before April's White House Correspondent's dinner, which, unlike its predecessor, will require a same-day negative COVID test for entry.  

Though "still a big if," the apparent Gridiron outbreak could also complicate the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, should any senators ultimately test positive, notes the Post's Paul Farhi.