Three Democrats have tested positive for Covid after Capitol lockdown during riots

James Crump
<p>Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) looks on during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, on 29 July 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC</p> ((Getty Images))

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) looks on during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, on 29 July 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

((Getty Images))

Three Democratic House representatives have tested positive for Covid-19 after being forced to lockdown with other lawmakers during the siege at the US Capitol last week.

Washington representative Pramila Jayapal revealed in a statement to the Associated Press on Tuesday morning that she had tested positive for Covid-19, while Illinois congressman Brad Schneider confirmed that he had contracted coronavirus later in the day.

The representatives announced that they had tested positive for coronavirus just one day after New Jersey lawmaker Bonnie Watson Coleman, also a Democrat, revealed that she had contracted Covid-19.

In her statement to the AP on Tuesday, Ms Jayapal criticised her Republican colleagues and claimed that some of them refused to wear face masks during the lockdown last week.

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

“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,” she added.

A statement released by Ms Coleman’s office on Monday had also claimed that several Republican representatives did not wear face masks during the lockdown at the Capitol on Wednesday.

The three Democratic representatives were forced to lockdown in Congress, when a mob of pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol last Wednesday. Five people died and numerous others were injured in the riots.

The rioters breached the Capitol after attending a Donald Trump rally, during which he told the crowd: “We're going to walk down to the Capitol” and adding: “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

The House was evacuated as the three Democratic representatives were among dozens of politicians and staff members who were forced to barricade themselves in offices to hide from the rioters, some of whom were carrying guns and other weapons.

Following her positive Covid-19 test, Ms Jayapal called for “serious fines to be immediately levied on every single member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol.”

She added: “Additionally, any member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms. 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.”

Over the weekend, the Capitol’s attending physician, Dr Brian Moynihan, warned representatives who were locked in the room that it was possible that they had contracted coronavirus and urged them to get tested.

On Sunday, he wrote that “many members of the House community were in protective isolation in the large room — some for several hours.”

Dr Moynihan added: “Individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”

All three representatives are self-isolating and will not be allowed back into Congress until they have produced a negative coronavirus test result.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 22.6 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 376,295.

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