With a desire to reöpen the economy and put COVID-19 behind us, Government élites pared back pandemic precautions. Will an outbreak traced to the Gridiron Dinner wake élites up to ongoing infection risks ?
By LOUIS FLORES
Updated 07 Apr 2022 12:00 Mayor Eric Adams (D-New York City) was a noted attendee of the Gridiron Dinner last Saturday in Washington, DC, which has been identified as a possible setting for an outbreak of COVID-19 infections, according to media reports. Amongst the attendees, who have since tested positive, included, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12), U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D, CA-28), and numerous others. The series of revelations comes as the U.S. faces a wave of a new variant, BA.2, after several attempts by Government officials to prematurely portray an end to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Adams was in the Nation’s capital for a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, the Gridiron Dinner, and a Sunday morning interview on “Face The Nation.” After his return to New York, Mayor Adams made numerous in-person appearances.
On Monday, his first order of business was to make a public announcement of a political advertising campaign aimed at the State of Florida under the pretexte of generating tourism and new residents for New York. Appearing maskless alongside a likewise maskless Mayor Adams were several LGBTQ advocates, including Allen Roskoff and Councilmember Erik Bottcher (D-Chelsea). It’s not known if New York City Hall or the NYC Test & Trace Corps contacted individuals, who have come into close contact with the mayor, about Mayor Adams’ possible exposure to the Coronavirus. Neither Mr. Roskoff nor Councilmember Bottcher answered e-mails containing advance questions for this report.
New York City’s mayor is clamping down on Government information reaching the press. Visit C’est Vrai for a sneak peak at advanced network analysis about Eric Adams . C’est Vrai is a computer-assisted Web application that provides network graphs and transparency metrics about Government officials. C’est Vrai is continuously undergoing enhancement, and millions of records are now in the process of being migrated into the database that powers C’est Vrai.
Government élites have been eager to turn the page on the pandemic, but new mutations continue to emerge, leading to new outbreaks of variants described as having greater transmissibility than in the past.
The BA.2 mutation is an off-spring of the Omicron variant, also referred to as BA.1, the latter which caused a spike in cases and hospitalisations around the world in the time leading up to the turn of the last year and in the time since. A brief, intervening respite was enough for Government élites to further enact a loosening of pandemic restrictions, including on isolation, which many now blame for increasing BA.2 outbreaks. The Omicron strain has also produced a recombinant mutation, classified as XE, with early reports suggesting that it may be more transmissible than the BA.2 strain.
The Government loosed restrictions by relying on vaccines that are largely no longer capable of preventing infection. Corporate media have been seizing on the low numbers of cases and hospitalisations as evidence that the latest outbreak shouldn’t cause panic. Nevertheless, critics have accused the Government of moving the public to use at-home tests, the results of which are largely not reported to health authorities, and of embracing the reclassification of hospitalisations as the reasons why the latest Government pandemic data now incites skepticism. Adding to these concerns is a growing lack of transparency, particularly in the wake of past efforts to undercount the number of COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes, for example.
The Government has made it difficult to track Coronavirus reïnfections. Now that some Government élites, like White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, have disclosed multiple infections, it’s not known whether, or how, Government policy may change.
Because élites have been downplaying the pandemic, many are increasingly not disclosing their infections or reïnfections. Reports published by the Washington Post and POLITICO revealed that journalists, members of the White House and the National Security Council staff, and other Agency executives also said they tested positive after the Gridiron Dinner and other events, including following an antitrust conference in Brussels last week, but the news outlets were protecting their identities, since the individuals had “not announced their status publicly,” according to the Post. The early sensibility to disclose infections appears to be giving way to secrecy.
Early in the pandemic, Government élites and the wealthy reserved privileges for themselves that were not available to everyone. Will the duplicity continue ?
After the original, crushing wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, a limited number of individuals began to receive early access to testing. They were initially reserved for Government élites and their associates. Later, at-home tests became available to the wealthy, even as the general public struggled to get tested. Throughout the pandemic, the Government made only limited use of broad, discretionary authority to compel the private sector economy to provide pandemic supplies on a priority basis, and work-from-home has been a privilege that blue collar employees have not been able to enjoy. At the same time, the Government established efforts at proactive disclosure of at least some pandemic data that is now being curtailed.
Progress New York has published numerous reports about shortcomings with the Government’s pandemic data and a failure to follow pandemic signals. After Progress New York obtained at least some variant sequencing data from pandemic wastewater surveillance in New York City, the Government agreed to publish limited levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. But Government élites are not reïnstituting pandemic restrictions based on increases in Coronavirus RNA levels in wastewater, as the science would suggest, according to critics. As a result, new outbreaks are taking place.
In response to several early controversies, Mayor Adams was secretly recorded during a Zoom conference demanding complete control of press communications by all City Agencies. In the recording, he expressed paranoia about being sabotaged and made a blanket threat to terminate the employment of individuals violating his authority, according to a report published by POLITICO.
Since Mayor Adams returned to New York from his week-end in Washington, DC, it’s not known how he has reacted to news of so many attendees testing positive for COVID-19 following the Gridiron Dinner. However, he, like the other officials, who have tested positive recently, has continued to appear maskless, including at a private event on Wednesday night, despite the Coronavirus spreading through aerosol particles. For this report, the City Hall Press Office refused to answer questions submitted in an email.
- After Gridiron Dinner, a covid outbreak among Washington A-list guests [The Washington Post]
- Elite D.C. appears to be getting pummeled with COVID-19 [POLITICO]
- UK adds nine more COVID symptoms to official list as its struggles with record case load [MarketWatch]
- As COVID cases climb in Europe, experts worry that new waves in the U.S. have typically followed within weeks [MarketWatch]
- Shanghai COVID-19 lockdown extended to entire city [BBC]
- NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams tests positive for COVID-19 [The New York Daily News]
- Thought the Federal COVID-19 funding deal was in the bag ? Not so fast. [The Washington Post]
- Are Masks a New Signifier of Social Class ? [The New York Times]