Thursday, March 12, 2020

AIPAC and CPAC America's N-1 SARS-CoV2 Super Spreader Nodes

forward | The tens of thousands of devotees who attended last week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference and the Conservative Political Action Conference at the end of February have all gone back home, bringing with them new ideas about U.S.-Israel relations and strategies for Republican victories in the 2020 election, respectively. Some have also brought back the coronavirus.

At least five attendees of AIPAC and one from CPAC — two of Washington’s marquee annual political events — have tested positive for the virus, diagnoses that have rippled out to create quarantines and school closings from Cleveland to California. Neither AIPAC nor CPAC would address reports on social media that the infected CPAC attendee also attended AIPAC, which started the next day.

With New Rochelle, N.Y., being declared a “contamination zone” on Tuesday, scores of schools and universities going online only, many businesses asking employees to work remotely and thousands of gatherings large and small getting postponed indefinitely, there have been some complaints about the approach taken by the two advocacy organizations.

CPAC in particular has come under fire for a lack of adequate communication with individuals who came into contact with the affected attendee. Raheem Kassam, a conservative author and commentator, and Brandon Darby, a reporter for the right-wing outlet Breitbart, are among several people who were at CPAC and claim that VIP attendees have gotten access to more information faster than have the rest of the 20,000 people in attendance. The American Conservative Union, which organizes the conference, did not respond to inquiries on Tuesday.

Politico reported that the CPAC attendee with the virus ate at a Shabbat dinner Feb. 28, and held a gold-level ticket that provided access to Republican lawmakers including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Doug Collins of Georgia. All four are self-quarantining. The Washington Beacon, a conservative Website, reported Tuesday that the infected person was at a VIP congressional reception on the opening night of the conference, Feb. 26.