Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, is forgoing the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner on Saturday, reportedly over concerns about COVID-19.
Fauci was supposed to attend the dinner as a guest of ABC News, according to CNN, which was the first to report the development. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases confirmed to The Hill that he will miss the event.
Fauci said he withdrew “because of my individual assessment of my personal risk,” according to The New York Times.
In an interview with CBS News published on Wednesday, Fauci explained that the right decision for him might not necessarily pertain to others.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that President Biden would be attending the speaking program of the event but would not be there for the dinner portion to limit COVID-19 risks. Biden is 79 years old; Fauci is 81.
Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday but is not considered a close contact of Biden.
Fauci made headlines on Tuesday after he said in an interview that the United States was “out of the pandemic phase” of COVID-19.
Fauci clarified those comments in his interview with CBS News, saying, “We certainly cannot say the pandemic is over,” and adding, “It is not over.”
He said that caseloads were beginning to “creep up” again and said that while a range of vaccines and therapeutics were accessible — and the country was seeing a more “controlled” phase of the pandemic — “that does not mean we are out of the woods.”
The Hill has reached out to the WHCA and ABC News for additional comment.