Jun 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Tom Rice says he and his family have coronavirus

Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., attends a Ways and Means Committee hearing in 2018

Rep. Tom Rice attends a Ways and Means Committee hearing in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) confirmed in a statement on Monday that he, his wife and their son have contracted the novel coronavirus. But he stressed, "We are all on the mend and doing fine."

Of note: Rice appeared in the House without a face covering on May 28. CNN journalist Manu Raju reports when he asked Rice why, Rice said he made "an effort stay six feet away from folks in accordance with guidelines" and that he does wear masks when he's unable to maintain physical distancing.

"The only bad thing is I have completely lost sense of taste and smell. CAN’T TASTE BACON!!!"
— Excerpt from Rice's Facebook post
  • In his post, Rice referred to COVID-19 as the "Wuhan virus." Republicans including President Trump have continued to use the term despite the World Health Organization and others warning to do so can stigmatize individuals with Chinese ancestry.

The big picture: There has been no known instance of coronavirus community spread in Congress. But several Republicans self-quarantined earlier in the pandemic when a participant at the annual CPAC conference tested positive for COVID-19 in March.

  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) became in late March the first Congress member to test positive for the virus, with Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) becoming the second hours later.
  • House Oversight Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) went into self-quarantine this month after falling sick following participation in mass protests in New York City. However, she tested negative for the virus over the weekend, per the New York Daily News.
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) confirmed late Monday that her father, Nur Omar, had died of complications from the coronavirus.
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