Updated Jan 12, 2021 - Health

Third lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19 after Capitol Hill siege


Schneider. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Three Democratic lawmakers have announced they've tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering with maskless colleagues during last week's siege at the U.S. Capitol.

Driving the news: Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) said wrote in a statement Tuesday that he has tested positive for the virus after the attack last week, during which he had to shelter in a crowded space with other lawmakers.

  • Schneider said "several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask ... even when politely asked by their colleagues." Lawmakers were seen in the room without masks in a video obtained by Punchbowl News.
  • Schneider said he has not experienced symptoms.

The state of play: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) announced earlier Tuesday that she had been "locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one."

  • Hours earlier, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) tweeted that she decided to take a coronavirus test following last week's events, "including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks."
  • "She believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots," her office said in a statement of the 75-year-old cancer survivor.

Why it matters: Per a statement from Jayapal, they were in a "crowded room" during a pandemic, "creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack."

  • The U.S. Capitol's attending physician warned that lawmakers may have been exposed to someone infected with the coronavirus as they hid from a pro-Trump mob.
  • Many members of Congress are in age groups and other categories that put them at a higher risk of dying or suffering serious illness associated with the coronavirus.

For the record: Watson said she's at home resting. "While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents," she tweeted.

  • Jayapal said she's isolating but she'll continue to work and "will not rest until I do everything in my power to remove this President from office," blaming President Trump for the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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