5th member of Congress contracts COVID in post-riot surge

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fairly difficult
A fifth member of Congress has tested positive for COVID-19 following last week's lockdown at the Capitol — a surge of cases that had been predicted as a...
result of the Jan. 6 occupation.

Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York, the fourth to test positive, announced Thursday morning that he was isolating, after similar announcements in the past week by Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Brad Schneider of Illinois, all Democrats.

Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee tested positive for the virus on Jan. 10, but the announcement from his office indicated that he believes he was exposed by contact with another House member he shares living quarters with, not at the Capitol.

The House physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, warned on Sunday of the danger to "many" members of Congress and staffers who "may have been exposed" to COVID-19 when they took shelter — in some cases huddled together in windowless rooms for several hours — during the riot and occupation of the Capitol.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat. (Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic had taken a disproportionate toll on Republicans until now. According to GovTrack, 41 Republican House members and seven Republican senators had tested positive for the coronavirus since last March — compared with 12 Democrats in the House and none in the Senate. Wearing masks as a precaution has become a signifier of party identity, and many Republicans have treated it as a symbol of disloyalty to President Trump.

"Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them," Jayapal…
Christopher Wilson
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