A third Democratic U.S. lawmaker says he has tested positive for COVID-19 days after being locked down for hours with other colleagues, including Republicans who did not wear face masks, to avoid the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol.
Days after facing the violent threat of a mob insurrection, lawmakers are grappling with a new threat – a coronavirus outbreak.
So far three House democrats announced positive results after being locked down with Republican colleagues – some of whom refused to wear a mask for hours as they avoided the mob that stormed the Capitol building Wednesday.
The exposure adds another worrisome consequence following Wednesday’s attack on Congress by pro-Trump rioters – that the siege was also a superspreader event.
Illinois Representative Brad Schneider, Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal, and New Jersey Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman said they have tested positive after Wednesday's riot.
Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor, said she was awaiting results from a more comprehensive test after her rapid COVID-19 test came back positive.
All three have blamed Republicans for refusing to wear masks while isolated for hours in close quarters, and said they are quarantining.
Jayapal said on Twitter Monday that during the lock down QUOTE “several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one,” adding QUOTE “I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.” Schneider added Tuesday QUOTE “We can no longer tolerate Members coming to the floor or gathering in the halls of Congress without doing the bare minimum to protect those around them.” At least six Republican representatives refused to wear masks, CNN reported, citing video and photos posted online.
Health officials have warned the attack may become a major spreading event, not only among lawmakers but also nationwide as the mostly maskless Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol traveled home from Washington.
Despite guidance from national health authorities that says properly worn face masks can help reduce the spread of the highly contagious disease, their use has become a political flashpoint.