Fight over corona virus protection at a press conference

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More than 2,000 journalists, celebrities and politicians, including President Biden, are set to attend the White House Reporters’ Association’s dinner this weekend, a key test of whether large gatherings can be held safely at this point. International spread.

Organizers say they are committed to hosting an event that significantly reduces risk Corona virus Infections were linked to the need for strengthened vaccination and testing after a dinner hosted by the Gridron Club in Washington this month. At least 80 infections It made cabinet members, reporters and other guests sick.

Yet some White House officials and experts say those measures are not enough and are worried that this weekend’s events could turn into another top-level super spreader event, with three executives speaking anonymously as they do not have the authority to discuss the issue. Behind the scenes, a leading corona virus expert is reluctant to install ultraviolet light disinfection devices with party organizers because of concerns that the devices could interfere with the program.

University of Maryland environmental scientist Dan Milton has provided advice to the White House and others Air exchangeHe said his offer was that a company should install the devices Both the Reporters’ Guild and Washington Hilton, which hosts the event, were not dismissed free of charge. “I listed a team of scientists and disinfectant UV lighting companies, as a demonstration plan, to provide a temporary installation to help secure the White House’s reporters’ dinner,” Milton said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work.”

In an interview, CBS news correspondent Steve Portnoy, who serves as chairman of the WHCA, He said the association had security protocols and that Milton’s offer had come too late.

“We are interested in learning more about this technology,” Portnoy said. “We are not in a position to fully understand the benefits or potential risks of what appears to be experimental technology, with less than a week to go.”

Reporters’ dinner It comes weeks after the debate over whether events such as the rapidly spreading subtypes of Omigran such as BA are even more dangerous. 2, circle the world – or by expanding the number of treatments to prevent the corona virus infection from becoming another threat to normal life by 2022, the virus becoming a serious disease in most people.

Lena S., a Washington Post contributor, said the Gridron Club explosion “shows what it would be like to live with Govit-19”. Wen wrote. This month, Saying the lawsuits were inevitable and encouraged the party to return. “Almost all of us suffer from Govt-19. Let’s get ready for what we’re going to do and start our lives again in the meantime.

But at least some individuals choose to bow. Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s top medical adviser, has canceled his plan to attend the dinner, citing his personal risks, CNN first reported Tuesday night. In an interview Wednesday, the 81-year-old doctor said it was his “personal choice” not to attend the event, as he does in the United States. Moving past The “complete epidemic” phase of the virus.

As of Wednesday, the White House said 79-year-old Biden planned to attend a dinner to show his support for the press.

Many corona virus experts say new infections associated with dinner and the parties that come with it are inevitable, local cases have risen, and key officials such as Vice President Harris tested positive for the corona virus this week, and the number of participants indicates a few victims. Unknowingly slip up on the security placed. The Reporters’ Association said 2,600 tickets had been sold for Saturday dinner.

“I think it’s important that we go back to some of these activities – and do it in a way that acknowledges the presence of the virus and the risks involved,” said Lincy Marr, a Virginia technical engineer. The home of the corona virus strategy. Marr added pride to the WHCA by adding that participants should prepare evidence for a negative test on Saturday, but urged the association to go further on the airborne spread of the virus.

“I hope they do something to improve ventilation and filtration in the space,” he said, adding that some guests like Biden face high risks due to their age and other factors. “He has an insurmountable risk of becoming infected.”

WHCA dinner has been a spring ritual in Washington since 1921, although there have been occasional interruptions – especially over the past two years due to epidemics that dinner has been canceled.

Despite its name, journalists are a minority of guests in the black-tie affair. Participants typically include people invited by the media, including advertisers, business executives, military officials, high-ranking government officials, and well-connected friends. Until former President Donald Trump boycotted the event, it was frequently attended by Hollywood celebrities and major sports celebrities.

With Biden and many other media and political leaders scheduled to attend, this year’s event format is back as comedian Trevor Nova is set to host a post-dinner show. But there is a new abstract to this weekend dinner because the invited guests are discussing the dangers of overcrowding. Some people with mild cases of corona virus had mild cases after a Gridron Club dinner on April 2, which were resolved quickly, but others enjoyed Symptoms that last for days or weeks.

Although the dinner will take place in Washington Hilton’s Cavernous Ballroom, many participants will attend very limited locations throughout the hotel, as well as close-ups at several pre- and post-banquets, which will facilitate the possible spread of the virus.

Washington Hilton did not answer specific questions about its current defenses against the corona virus.

“The safety and security of our guests and team members is our highest priority, and Washington Hilton is diligent in our commitment to providing a safe, hospitable environment for all who visit our property,” a spokesman said in a statement. Sending questions to the Reporters’ Guild about events held at the hotel during epidemics and Saturday dinners.

White House officials suggested security questions to the Reporters’ Union, and senior officials sought to return to normalcy after two years of being infected with the virus.

“We’re at a point of this epidemic … I think we can safely collect,” White House Corona virus coordinator Ashish Jah told Fox News Sunday last week that vaccinations, testing and air filtration would reduce the risks. Associated with the virus. “I do not think so [the correspondents’ dinner] Should be canceled. “

Portnoy, chairman of the WHCA, stressed that the association has taken a number of steps to ensure a safe evening.

“We demand that every person at dinner on Saturday, April 30, take a corona virus test. [the negative result] “Participants should also be vaccinated,” Portnoy said.

But Milton, an expert at the University of Maryland, urged organizers to install additional devices that actively purify the air for participants.

“When you put many people together, you have to have really effective air health systems. Ventilation and filtration alone are not enough,” Milton said.

Then Dozens of corona virus infections have been linked At a Gridiron club dinner three weeks ago, Milton said, he approached the Reporters’ Guild and arranged a conversation with Far UV, a salesman who temporarily sets up more than 100 devices in the Washington Hilton. They work by disinfecting the air and have small devices similar to smoke detectors to small lights that can be set around the room. Milton said he has no financial relationship with UV or any other company that makes UV light devices.

But WHCA officials said conversations with Milton and Far UV came too late in their planning, and that the lights could irritate participants’ eyes and interfere with servers trying to get to the ballroom – and could turn blue when addressing someone like Biden. In the crowd.

In an interview, Milton referred to the White House last month and said the technology was proven Said about the benefits UV disinfectant light to fight corona virus.

“We had good data decades ago,” Milton said, adding that despite the group’s continued rejection of offers, it had been trying for weeks to persuade the Reporters Association about the value of the devices. “The reason is not clear to me,” he said.

PJ Piper, president of For UV, denied questions about his company’s conversations with reporters, but said school districts, the Department of Defense and other organizations had installed the devices. “It’s a great thing to have 10 times more protection than the one hour equivalent air exchange that your HVAC can provide you. Because if the virus is not in the air, you can not catch it,” Piper said.

Other experts say the WHCA’s fears about the technology are unfounded.

If installed correctly, Ultraviolet lamps “can be used safely. They do not penetrate the skin. They do not harm the eyes. They do not affect photography, ”said David Michael, a professor at George Washington University who led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He spoke with Milton about the potential of technology. “It’s absolutely possible” to install the lights before Saturday’s gala, Michaels added.

Michaels also rejected the structure that protection during infections is limited to individual steps such as vaccination, wearing a mask and getting tested. Instead, he argued, authorities should install more “passive” measures to protect the public, such as better air filters and UV lights, to ensure the safety of meeting participants and staff working at such events.

“We have to do more to protect the people before we impose on them the responsibility to protect themselves,” Michaels said.

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