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Rep. Pramila Jayapal has tested positive for COVID-19, a result that she blames on her Republican colleagues’ refusal to wear face masks during the hours-long lockdown last Wednesday as pro-Trump extremists attacked the U.S. Capitol.
“Only hours after Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, 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 on Twitter.
Crowded conditions during the prolonged security lockdown recently prompted Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, to urge members and staff to get coronavirus tests, citing a high chance of transmission.
Monahan also said that at least one lawmaker who was in a holding area was already positive before the chaotic events forced hundreds of people to gather together.
Jayapal, D-Wash., is at least the second member of Congress to announce a positive test after the lockdown, along with Rep. Bonnie Coleman, D-N.J. They join more than 50 lawmakers and 220 workers in Congress who have either tested positive, or are presumed to have been infected with the coronavirus.
Both Jayapal and Coleman are self-isolating but continuing to work. Coleman, who had taken the first of the required two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, says she is “experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms.”
Jayapal is pushing for people in Congress to show greater care in following safety guidelines, and for anyone who ignores mask requirements to be punished — including senators and representatives.
“Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy,” she said via Twitter. “I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.”