The Gridiron Club dinner, an annual black-tie roast between journalists and presidential administrations held over the weekend in Washington, quickly devolved from a swampy cross-pollination party into an event where a lot of boldface names appear to have caught the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, two Biden administration officials who attended the dinner, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, said they had tested positive for the virus. Neither was determined to be in close contact with President Biden, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as someone less than six feet away for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.
The positive tests are a reminder that, even as officials seek to pivot away from strict restrictions and encourage people to learn to live with the coronavirus, the pandemic is not over, driven by BA.2, a highly contagious Omicron subvariant whose spread is alarming experts.
Mr. Biden did not attend the Gridiron, but he has appeared, mask-free, at several events this week, even as cases rise inside his administration, among lawmakers, in the news media and throughout the capital. His maskless appearance also calls into question the safety protocols that stand between a 79-year-old president and a wily virus that is adept at evading even stringent safety measures.