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Lindsey Graham. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, despite being vaccinated.

Why it matters: Graham emphasized that the mildness of his symptoms is due to being vaccinated. If he had been unvaccinated his symptoms would be "far worse," he said.

The latest: It appears that Graham may have exposed a number of other senators to the virus this weekend after he attended a weekend get-together hosted by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on the latter's houseboat, CNN reports.

  • "Sen. Manchin is fully vaccinated and following the CDC guidelines for those exposed to a COVID-positive individual," a Manchin spokeswoman told CNN.
  • Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Jacky Rosen (D-N.V.) were also at the bipartisan gathering and are now following CDC guidelines for persons exposed to a COVID-positive individual, reports Business Insider.
  • Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-N.V.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.), all of whom are fully vaccinated, also attended the boat gathering. Thune has already received his test results and tested negative for COVID-19.
  • Senate Democrats have gone back to holding virtual meetings in light of the news of Graham's positive test.

The big picture: Graham received the coronavirus vaccine in December 2020 and has advocated for his constituents to get inoculated.

  • Graham said he began experiencing flu-like symptoms on Saturday and visited his doctor Monday morning.
  • He described his symptoms as mild and confirmed that he will quarantine for 10 days.
  • "I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now," he wrote. "My symptoms would be far worse."

Of note: Despite the attention given to them, "breakthrough" COVID-19 cases remain exceedingly rare.

  • Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19 and those who do tend to experience a less severe bout of the virus than the unvaccinated.

Go deeper

Sep 25, 2021 - Health

Montana VA medical center to treat non-veterans amid COVID surge

Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana, on Nov. 11, 2020. Photo: Lynn Donaldson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A veterans medical facility in Montana is planning to accept non-eligible patients as a COVID-19 surge overwhelms nearby hospitals in the state, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The move underscores the dire health situation in Montana due to the latest COVID-19 case surge, where some hospitals in the state have started to consider rationing care, according to the Montana Free Press.

Sep 25, 2021 - Health

A second flu

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Whatever living with the virus looks like, Delta-level surges aren't considered to be sustainable for the public or the hospitals that will treat the seriously infected.

Why it matters: A major determinant of how seriously we'll take the coronavirus in the future is how many hospitalizations and deaths it's causing — and whether our health system can handle the load.

Sep 25, 2021 - Health

We're the architects of our own COVID destiny

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

We're almost certainly going to have to live with the coronavirus, in some form, for the foreseeable future. But what that means will be shaped in large part by what we do now.

Why it matters: More than half of the world — and a substantial portion of Americans — remains unvaccinated. Getting these rates up could mean the difference between the virus becoming a back-burner nuisance, or something that continues to define our lives for years to come.