New Jersey congressman Bonnie Watson Coleman has tested positive for COVID-19 and she believes she was infected while isolating herself during the Capitol riots along with other lawmakers who refused to wear masks.
Watson Coleman, 75, is a recent cancer survivor and received the first dose of the two-dose COVID vaccine offered to members of Congress. She said in a statement that she “had mild cold-like symptoms” and worked from home.
Watson Coleman did not say why she believed she was infected in the large committee courtroom where House members took shelter as insurgents marauded the Capitol last Wednesday.
But the House’s attending physician had already warned members that “individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.” All members who were in that room were urged to undergo rapid COVID-19 tests.
After the riot, a video surfaced showing some Republican members, including QAnon rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), not wearing masks, even after requests from others to put them on.
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester was trying to distribute masks in a video obtained by Punchbowl News. “Although I was disappointed with my colleagues who refused to wear a mask, I was encouraged by those who did. My goal, in the midst of what I feared was a super spreader event, was to at least make the room a little bit safer, ”she tweeted later.
Public health officials have warned that the riot as a whole had the makings of a mass-market event, with hordes of unmasked rioters crowded inside, shouting – then returning to their hometowns, where they could spread the virus even further.
Although Watson Coleman received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine before the shameful events of January 6, medical experts say it does not provide instant immunity and is not considered fully effective until the second. dose is administered weeks later.
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