Overnight, a second lawmaker said she had tested positive for Covid-19 after sheltering in place with lawmakers who refused to wear masks during the violent rioting at the U.S. Capitol last week.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state Democrat, said in a statement early Tuesday that she had been quarantining since the attack and learned of her positive test result Monday night.
“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them,” she said in a statement. “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 said she was working from home.
“I will continue to work to the best of my ability because the deep urgency of our many crises is paramount,” she said in her statement. “I share the outrage and anger of my constituents and those across this country who have watched Donald Trump fail to combat this raging pandemic and refuse to take care of Americans who are suffering, dying, and devastated. Now, we have also watched him openly fuel and incite these insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol and our democracy on January 6 — so I will not rest until I do everything in my power to remove this President from office.”
Earlier Monday, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., said she had received a positive rapid Covid-19 test.
“I received a positive test result for COVID-19, and am home resting at this time. While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents,” Watson Coleman said in a statement.
The congresswoman is isolating and waiting for the results of a PCR test, which is known to be more accurate than rapid tests.
News of the lawmakers’ tests comes a day after the Capitol physician warned members and congressional staff that they could have been exposed to someone infected with the virus when they were sheltering in place. A video circulated last week that showed a House Democrat in a secure room offering face masks to a group of her fellow Republicans, who were seen turning them down.
In July, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a mask mandate for all members and staffers on the House floor.
Jayapal said that lawmakers who refuse to wear masks in the Capitol should be fined.
“Additionally, any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms,” she said. “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.”
Second lawmaker tests positive for Covid after Capitol lockdown The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ NBC News.