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Rep. Clay Higgins during a 2019 House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) announced Sunday evening that he and his wife have contracted COVID-19 for a second time and "this episode is far more challenging."

Driving the news: "Becca and I had COVID before, early on, in January 2020, before the world really knew what it was," he wrote in a Facebook post, confirming his son also has the coronavirus — which he described as a "biological attack weaponized virus."

  • This time round, the virus has "required all of my devoted energy," he said.
  • "We are all under excellent care, and our prognosis is positive," Higgins added. "We are very healthy generally speaking, and our treatment of any health concern always encompasses western, eastern, and holistic variables."

Of note: Higgins has advocated for people to get inoculated against COVID-19, but hasn't publicly stated whether he has been vaccinated, per NBC News.

  • He told Lake Charles, Louisiana, news outlet the Daily American in April that he believed he was "naturally immunized" because he had already contracted the virus.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases are again surging across the U.S. The seven-day average of new cases in Louisiana was up 67% to more than 1,500 as of July 20.

  • The Delta variant is driving the spike in most places. In Louisiana, this strain is second to the Alpha variant, first detected in the U.K., according to Axios' Coronavirus Variant Tracker.
  • Louisiana has seen a slower uptake in coronavirus vaccinations than other U.S. states, and fewer than 50% of the population had been vaccinated as of last month.

Go deeper: New Orleans issues indoor mask advisory amid surging COVID-19 cases

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

Go deeper

Greene's fines unmasked

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has already been fined a quarter of her congressional salary for not wearing a mask on the House floor, yet she says that pales in comparison to the price paid by other public employees.

Why it matters: Republicans have defied a slate of measures put in place by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and bolster security following the Jan. 6 attack. And Greene has the personal wealth to withstand fines aimed at enforcing them.

89 NYPD officers on leave due to vaccine mandate

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea speaks at a press conference. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Eighty-nine New York Police Department officers have been placed on unpaid leave since the vaccine mandate for city workers went into effect, Commissioner Dermot Shea told NY1 on Tuesday.

Driving the news: The number is in sharp contrast with an Oct. 28 news release from the heads of five major police unions representing the city's officers, which stated that the city was set to pull 10,000 officers from the streets.

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of Tonga's volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could be contaminated.