COVID-Positive Reps Can Sue GOP Members Who Refused Masks During Lockdown

slate.com
5 min read
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Defendants might be liable for enormous punitive damages due to their recklessness.
The horrific consequences of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol continue to mushroom this week. On Tuesday, it was reported that Democratic New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman would have to undergo monoclonal antibody therapy after contracting COVID-19 following being trapped with maskless members of the House Republican caucus during last week's Capitol riot. Fellow Democrats Pramila Jayapal and Brad Schneider have also tested positive for COVID-19. It's quite likely that they were exposed during the lockdown, when some of their GOP colleagues refused to wear masks despite being huddled together in a confined space for hours. This video shows some of these Republican members seemingly mocking Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, who was offering them this simple protection. These representatives—identified as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Andy Biggs, Scott Perry, Michael Cloud, and Markwayne Mullin, all Republicans—could not be bothered to comply with this simple and effective public health measure. As Watson Coleman put it in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday, "while we might have been protected from the insurrectionists, we were not safe from the callousness of members of Congress who, having encouraged the sentiments that inspired the riot, now ignored requests to wear masks."

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Those infected should sue their colleagues for their physical and mental injuries, which we must hope are not serious. (Watson Coleman is 75. Her symptoms are mild so far, but she is a cancer survivor.) They have a strong case. And they need…
John Culhane
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