Rep. Pramila Jayapal tested positive for COVID-19 after Capitol riots

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal announced that she tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering in place in a room with more than 100 people — some not wearing masks — for hours during the Capitol riots.
  • “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 in a fiery statement announcing her positive test.
  • She is the second congresswoman to announce a positive test following the Capitol lockdown, which the Attending Physician of the United States Congress said on Sunday could have exposed many members of Congress to the coronavirus.
  • Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor starting her third term, also tested positive after sheltering during the riots.
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Rep. Pramila Jayapal does not have time for the “selfish idiocy” of those not wearing masks in the US Capitol.

She shared this frustration in an announcement on Monday that she tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering in place during the Capitol riots with GOP members of Congress who she said refused to wear masks.

The Democrat from Washington called for “serious fines to be immediately levied on every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol.”

Jayapal is the second congresswoman to announce a positive COVID-19 test after sheltering in place during the Capitol Building insurrection. Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor from New Jersey, also shared on Monday that she tested positive after sheltering during the riots.

Last week Jayapal told New York Magazine’s The Cut that she was “quarantining now because I am convinced that where we ended up, in the secured room — where there were over 100 people and many were Republicans not wearing masks — was a superspreader event.”

On Sunday, the attending physician of the United States Congress, Dr. Brian Monahan, warned that members of Congress could have been exposed to the coronavirus while sheltering in place during the more than four-hour siege.

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

In December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi implemented new mask-wearing rules for the House floor. Members are required to wear a mask to be recognized to speak and must keep a mask on when at the mic.

However, mask-wearing, which health experts say is one of the most effective ways of stemming transmission of the novel coronavirus, has become a partisan issue with some in the GOP (including the president) declining to wear them.

COVID-19, however, does not obey the whims of politics; the deadly virus continues to spread.

As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains: “The principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus.”

Thus far more than 22 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and 376,000 have died.

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