Before White House correspondents dinner, lots of risk-benefit calculation

“Everyone was vaccinated, everyone was masked except when they were talking,” he said. “But we also went to restaurants and did other things, and I was not infected, so I feel very good about that.”

Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist leading a new pandemic preparedness program at Brown University’s School of Public Health, said she recently attended a major indoor conference and was one of the few wearing masks. She has not received Covid-19 and will not, but, she said, “I am not reorganizing my life completely either to avoid it.”

Everyone has different risk tolerances, and experts say it is important not to judge other people’s choices. But the president, who is president, has an obligation to the public not to get sick, Dr. Arthur Caplan, Director of NYU Langone’s Department of Medical Ethics. He said Mr Biden should not attend the dinner, ticking off the reasons in an email.

“He is high-risk and occupies a very high office in a time of war,” wrote Dr. Caplan, adding: “He must be hyper-confident. The correspondents’ dinner is very optional. With the sick VP, he really has to protect himself. His office imposes a duty of care.”

Ms. Psaki admitted that Mr Biden could get Covid, adding that if he did, the White House would be “very transparent” about it. She said the White House is taking several precautions – in addition to those at most workplaces – to protect Mr. Biting, including social distancing, regular testing, and wearing masks during meetings.

Still, she also noted that the president is traveling more recently, after concluding that getting out of the country was “very important to him, to his presidency, to the American people.”

Still, there is a sense of unrest here – and a concern that perhaps an assembly of 2,600 people, including journalists and politicians who have spent more than two years warning of the dangers of the pandemic, may not be the best looking.

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