Los Angeles Times

More law­mak­ers test pos­i­tive after Capi­tol lock­down

- U.S. News · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Washington · Democratic Party (United States) · Donald Trump · Republican Party (United States) · Brad Schneider · Illinois · Pramila Jayapal · Bonnie Watson Coleman · Michigan · Maryland · Brian T. Moynihan · Anthony G. Brown

WASH­ING­TON — Within a span of about 24 hours, three House Democrats have an­nounced that they tested pos­i­tive for the coron­avirus, prompt­ing con­cern that last week’s in­sur­rec­tion at the Capi­tol was a su­per- spreader event that threat­ens the health of law­mak­ers and their staffs.

Those who tested pos­i­tive were among the dozens of law­mak­ers whisked to a se­cure lo­ca­tion Jan. 6 when pro- Trump in­sur­rec­tion­ists stormed the Capi­tol. Some mem­bers of Congress hud­dled for hours in the large room; oth­ers were there for a shorter time.

Al­though it’s not cer­tain where and when law­mak­ers were in­fected, the Capi­tol’s at­tend­ing physi­cian no­ti­fied all House law­mak­ers of pos­si­ble virus ex­po­sure and urged them to be tested.

Dr. Brian Moyni­han said mem­bers who were in pro­tec­tive iso­la­tion that day “may have been ex­posed to an­other oc­cu­pant with coron­avirus in­fec­tion.”

The three Demo­cratic law­mak­ers di­rected their anger to­ward some House Repub­li­cans who were in the se­cure room and de­clined to wear a face cov­er­ing. Video sur­faced of mul­ti­ple Repub­li­can law­mak­ers re­fus­ing to wear a mask even when they were of­fered one.

“To­day, I am now in strict iso­la­tion, wor­ried that I have risked my wife’s health and an­gry at the self­ish­ness and ar­ro­gance of the anti- maskers who put their own con­tempt and dis­re­gard for de­cency ahead of the health and safety of their col­leagues and our staff,” Rep. Brad Sch­nei­der ( D- Ill.) said Tues­day.

Sch­nei­der’s com­ments came a few hours after sim­i­lar re­marks from Rep. Pramila Jaya­pal ( D- Wash.).

“Too many Repub­li­cans have re­fused to take this pan­demic and virus se­ri­ously, and in do­ing so, they en­dan­ger ev­ery­one around them,” Jaya­pal said. “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.”

Jaya­pal’s state­ment came after Rep. Bon­nie Wat­son Cole­man ( D- N. J.) said Mon­day that she had tested pos­i­tive for the coron­avirus. A news re­lease from Wat­son Cole­man’s of­fice Mon­day noted that “a num­ber of mem­bers within the space ig­nored in­struc­tions to wear masks.”

All three law­mak­ers are iso­lat­ing. Sch­nei­der said he had no symp­toms; Wat­son Cole­man said she had mild, cold- like symp­toms. Jaya­pal did not elab­o­rate on how she was feel­ing but noted that she be­gan to quar­an­tine out of con­cern about con­di­tions in the se­cured room.

Within hours of the an­nounce­ments, Reps. Deb­bie

‘ Too many Repub­li­cans have re­fused to take this pan­demic and virus se­ri­ously, and in do­ing so, they en­dan­ger ev­ery­one around them.’ — Rep. Pramila

Jaya­pal

Din­gell ( D- Mich.) and An­thony G. Brown ( D- Md.) in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion that would im­pose a $ 1,000 f ine on any mem­ber of Congress who re­fuses to wear a mask on Capi­tol grounds dur­ing the COVID- 19 pan­demic.

“It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask; it is self­ish, stupid and shame­ful be­hav­ior that puts lives at risk,” Din­gell said.

Jaya­pal called on the sergeant at arms to re­move from the House f loor any law­maker who de­clines to wear a mask.

“This is not a joke,” she said. “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.”

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