Democrats infected with COVID-19 after Capitol siege furious at unmasked Republicans
Three House Democrats who believe they have been infected with COVID-19[female[feminine after being forced to take shelter with Republicans who refused to wear masks during the headquarters of the United States Capitol castigate the lack of consideration of their fellow representatives.
Infected lawmakers – Reps Pramila Jayapal, Brad Schneider and Bonnie Coleman – are furious at their fellow Republican for not wearing masks as hundreds of lawmakers crammed into a secure location after evacuating the House’s gallery when Donald trump Fans stormed the Capitol last week.
“It’s more than arrogance, it’s more than contempt,” said Schneider, D-Ill. “It’s a desire to hurt others, that’s the only way I can describe it.”
While Schneider said he had no symptoms, Coleman and Jayapal said they had mild symptoms, similar to colds.
In a virtual press conference with reporters on Tuesday, Schneider described his arrival at the scene with hundreds of lawmakers crammed into a secure location. Schneider said it was a “risk environment” for exposure to COVID-19, even though some members wore masks.
Schneider also added that not every member of the Republican House he saw wore a mask.
All three representatives received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, but not the second dose according to medical experts is crucial for complete protection against the coronavirus.
Members of Congress were among the first to start receiving the vaccine, but many have only recently received their first dose and have not received the second dose, which is required 21 days after the first.
“It’s really important to keep emphasizing that people need both doses to be able to achieve the 94% level of efficacy protection that we are talking about,” said Dr Wafaa El-Sadr, Professor of Epidemiology and of Medicine at Columbia University’s Mailman. School of Public Health. “It protects against the impact of infection, that is, the development of serious illness or disease. We don’t know if it protects against infection.”
Coleman, Schneider and Jayapal have all entered quarantine.
While there is still uncertainty over how Schneider and his fellow Democrats contracted the coronavirus, they believe their shelter in place for hours with unmasked Republican lawmakers played a key role in their COVID positive status. -19.
“I don’t know who I got this virus from or even necessarily if I got it in that room,” Schneider said. “But I know my exhibit in this room was greater than at any time during this entire pandemic.”
Several House Republicans – including Reps Markwayne Mullin, Andy Biggs, Scott Perry and Michael Cloud – were seen on video refusing to accept a mask when they took refuge during the insurgency at their secure location on the grounds of the Capitol.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., Who also appeared standing without a mask with other House Republicans, released a statement saying, “It is absolutely ridiculous and foolish to blame those of us who didn’t. no COVID or symptoms. The blame is squarely on Nancy Pelosi and the COVID positive members bringing COVID to Capitol Hill! It’s absurd to say they caught it while in the vault. “
Green’s statement, however, does not consider the well-documented threat of asymptomatic spread, which presents the same level of risk as symptomatic spread in terms of coronavirus infection, according to medical experts.
A spokesperson for Representative Doug LaMalfa, who was seen surrounded by his GOP colleagues without a mask, said the congressman was “clearly eating and drinking at the time of this video and his mask was nearby of him on the table “.
Democrats are said to be moving forward with plans for a mandatory House floor mask requirement that will impose a fine for any violation of the requirement. The fine would be $ 500 for the first offense and $ 2,500 for the second.
The move to impose a mask requirement comes amid concerns about the accuracy of coronavirus tests issued to members of Congress, their staff and hundreds of Capitol Hill employees. The Food and Drug Administration warned last week that the rapid test proposed by Curative posed a “risk of false results, in particular false negatives”.
Accurate coronavirus tests are of even greater importance to those who work on Capitol Hill, especially the Capitol Hill cops, who have come into contact with dozens of pro-Trump rioters without masks.
Trump administration testing czar Admiral Brett Giroir said last week that the Department of Health and Human Services was working with the Capitol Hill attending physician’s office to find another test to use on Capitol Hill .
“We are working closely with the Congressional Physician’s Office to provide high throughput and very sensitive tests that would not depend on Curative,” said Giroir. “We are very confident that this will be in place to handle all issues related to the inauguration.”
ABC News’s Ben Siegel contributed to this report.