US Agriculture Secy joins list of officials testing Covid positive after dinner event

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that he has tested positive for Covid-19, joining dozens of other administration official who have contracted the virus after attending the annual Gridiron Club dinner last week.

Vilsack, 71, tweeted on Saturday that he was both vaccinated and boosted and that “thankfully my symptoms are mild”, reports Xinhua news agency.

“If you have yet to get vaccinated and boosted, please don’t wait,” he added.

Attorney General Merrick Garland, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced their positive tests days after attending the elite Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner in downtown Washington, D.C. on April 2.

At least 53 individuals who attended the white-tie event have tested positive for Covid-19, according to Gridiron President Tom DeFrank.

“All guests at the Gridiron Club dinner were required to show proof of vaccination. We understand that some of our guests have reported positive tests since the dinner,” DeFrank said in a statement obtained by US media outlets.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.”

Leana Wen, professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University (GWU), tweeted that the Gridiron Club dinner “was probably a #covid19 superspreader”.

As of Sunday, the US continued to be the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 80,399,474 and 985,482, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

The highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2 has recently become the dominant strain of Covid-19 in the nation.

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