Rep. Jayapal tests positive for COVID-19 following insurrection

Washington's Pramila Jayapal is the second Democratic lawmaker to announce a post-siege diagnosis.

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Another Democratic congresswoman has tested positive for coronavirus after being locked down during the Capitol siege with their Republican counterparts who refused to wear masks.

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal announced early Tuesday that she had tested positive for COVID-19 after isolating with colleagues last week. 

In this July 2020 photo, Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks during the House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on Online Platforms and Market Power on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)

“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them,” Jayapal said in a statement.

“Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy,” she contended, “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.”

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Jayapal said she is quarantining and that she had been since being in that crowded room nearly a week ago.

She received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 4, but it was not enough to make her immune to the virus. Both vaccines require a second dose in three to four weeks after the first to be fully effective. Additionally, the protection from even one dose of the vaccine does not activate immediately. 

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Democratic congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey also tested positive this week after finding shelter with maskless Republican colleagues during the Capitol Hill siege. She’s a 75-year-old cancer survivor in a high-risk group.

“While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms,” she tweeted Monday, “I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents.”

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In her statement, Jayapal called for “serious fines to be immediately levied on every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol.”

She also noted that amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 375,000 Americans, Congress members who refuse to wear a mask should be removed from the floor by the sergeant at arms. 

“This is not a joke,” she wrote. “Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy.”

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