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Lawmakers Test Positive for COVID-19 Following Events at the Capitol

In the wake of last Wednesday’s siege on the Capitol, two US House members have now tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, New Jersey Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (Democrat) announced her positive rapid test result while apparently waiting for the results of the more thorough PCR test. Watson Coleman has since said that she believes she was exposed to the virus while sheltering in place with her colleagues in the Capitol during the violent riots. Around 300-400 lawmakers had been forced to hide in an enclosed location for their safety during the potential superspreader event. Watson Coleman, who reportedly had recently received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine,  also stated that some of these colleagues “refused to wear masks.” A video from the day in question has also been circulating, in which Delaware Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (Democrat) can be seen handing out masks to Republican representatives who do not take them. In a statement posted to her website, Watson Coleman wrote: “While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents.” 

Early this morning, Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (Democrat) announced that she too had tested positive for COVID-19. In a statement, Jayapal addressed her aforementioned mask-less colleagues: “Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them. Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack.” Jayapal has since communicated that she thinks those who refused to wear masks should be fined, and went even further, saying: “Additionally, any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms. This is not a joke. Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy.”

Sources:

“Congresswoman says she tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering during Capitol coup attempt with ‘several colleagues who refused to wear masks’” https://www.businessinsider.com/congresswoman-bonnie-watson-coleman-tests-positive-covid-maskless-colleagues-capitol-2021-1

“Jayapal Tests Positive for COVID-19 Following Lockdown at Capitol with Republican Lawmakers Who Cruelly and Selfishly Refused to Wear Masks” https://jayapal.house.gov/2021/01/11/covid-test/

“Second lawmaker tests positive for Covid after Capitol lockdown” https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/second-lawmaker-tests-positive-covid-after-capitol-lockdown-n1253851

“Two US House members test positive for COVID-19 after Capitol siege” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-12/us-house-members-test-positive-for-covid-19-after-capitol-siege/13050214

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