Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal from Washington said she tested positive and criticized Republican members of Congress who refused to wear a mask when offered to them. Jayapal said in a tweet that “several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask, but recklessly made fun of their colleagues and employees who offered them one.”
“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and this virus seriously and in doing so they endanger everyone around them,” she said in a separate statement.
Some members of Congress huddled for hours in the Great Hall, while others were there for a shorter period.
Jayapal, 55, said she was in isolation but continued to work.
Jayapal’s statement came after her Democratic colleague in the House, Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, said on Monday that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
Both received the first coronavirus vaccine offered to members of Congress, but experts said it could take a week or two for antibodies to form to resist the virus after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, with a second week of jab later needed to provide more rugged protection.
The two women were among dozens of lawmakers taken to a place of safety when pro-Trump insurgents stormed the Capitol. A press release from his office Monday noted that “a number of members in space have ignored instructions to wear masks. ”
Jayapal demanded that “heavy fines be immediately imposed on every member who refuses to wear a mask on Capitol Hill.”
“In addition, any member who refuses to wear a mask must be immediately removed from the ground by the Sergeant-at-Arms. It’s not a joke, ”she said. “Our lives and livelihoods are in danger, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held responsible for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy. ”
Eight positive members since the start of the year
Over the weekend, the Capitol Hill attending physician informed all lawmakers of possible exposure to the virus and urged them to be tested.
Dr Brian Moynihan wrote on Sunday that “many members of the House community were in protective isolation in the Great Hall – some for several hours” on Wednesday. He said “individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”
I want to update everyone. Although I am feeling fine, on my doctor’s advice, I am on my way to a local hospital for monoclonal antibody treatment.
Thank you for the outpouring of messages of support.
The love you sent has been overwhelming.
Please wear a mask and social distancing. https://t.co/TAK9Nf7lvN
Watson Coleman, who has battled cancer in the recent past, was among members of Congress who received their first coronavirus vaccine.
Nearly 50 members of Congress have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began early last year. Three Republicans announced a positive diagnosis on the same day of the Capitol Riot: Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Jake LaTurner of Kansas and Michelle Steel of California.
Tennessee Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, who reportedly shares a Washington residence with Bilirakis, said on Sunday he had tested positive and had been in quarantine since the night of January 6.
Two other Texas Republicans, Kevin Brady and Kay Granger, revealed positive test results in the days leading up to January 6.
Luke Letlow, an elected congressman from Louisiana, died Dec. 29 at the age of 41 from complications from COVID-19 just days before he was sworn in.