Democrats Test Positive for COVID After Republicans “Cruelly Refused” to Wear Masks While Sheltering

The attack on the Capitol increasingly looks like it was a superspreader event.

Jennings Graeme/ZUMA

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Update, 11 a.m. ET: Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) announced on Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID following the Capitol lockdown. We’ll continue to monitor developments and update accordingly. 

Amid fears that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol may have sparked a super-spreading event of the coronavirus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) announced in a statement early Tuesday that she has tested positive for COVID. Jayapal is now the second Democrat to test positive since Wednesday’s chaos—which sent nearly 100 panicked lawmakers into a crowded room—after Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) earlier on Monday announced that she also had tested positive.

In a scathing rebuke, Jayapal directly condemned Republicans who had “cruelly refused” to wear masks during the lockdown and accused several GOP members of even mocking colleagues when they were offered one.

“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. 

Watson Coleman, who is 75 and a lung cancer survivor, similarly lambasted mask-less Republicans. “It angers me when they refuse to adhere to the directions about keeping their masks on,” the New Jersey congresswoman told the New York Times on Monday. “It comes off to me as arrogance and defiance. And you can be both, but not at the expense of someone else.”

Jayapal is now calling for fines to be leveled against any member of the House who had refused to wear a mask. “Additionally, any Member who refuses to wear a mask,” she said, “should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.” Both Jayapal and Watson Coleman are now quarantining.

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