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White House Correspondents’ Association cancels dinner over coronavirus


The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) is canceling its annual dinner in favor of a virtual presentation due to the novel coronavirus, after previously rescheduling the event for August.

“We’ve been working hard to reconfigure the dinner in ways to make it safe for guests and staff,” WHCA President Jonathan Karl said in an email Tuesday. “But after consultation with medical experts, government authorities and our own members, we’ve concluded that it is just not possible to put on the kind of dinner that promotes the best in journalism and allows our guests to comfortably and safely enjoy themselves.”

Karl said that the association is currently working “on a virtual presentation that would allow us to salute award-winning journalism, toast an impressive group of scholarship winners, and still enjoy a few laughs.”

The annual dinner nicknamed “Nerd Prom” was originally scheduled to take place at the Washington Hilton in April, but the WHCA postponed it to Aug. 29 due to the coronavirus, which has infected more than 2.3 million people in America and killed over 120,000 as of Tuesday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

The District of Columbia embarked on its second phase of reopening businesses earlier this week. Gatherings of 50 people or more are still prohibited, and health experts have warned against congregating in groups because of the risk of spreading the disease.

Large-scale gatherings across the country — from sporting events to concerts — have been postponed amid the pandemic.

The event typically attracts hundreds of journalists and administration officials, though, unlike past presidents, President Trump has declined to attend the event and last year instructed administration officials not to attend.

“Saturday Night Live” veteran comedian Kenan Thompson was slated to host the 2020 dinner along with entertainment from Hasan Minhaj, host of Netflix’s “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” and a former correspondent on “The Daily Show.”

Tags Donald Trump Hasan Minhaj Jonathan Karl Kenan Thompson Nerd Prom WHCA White House Correspondents Dinner White House Correspondents' Association White House Correspondents' Association dinner

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