Lawmakers warned of possible coronavirus exposure during riot
Lawmakers who huddled together for safety last week — as a deadly siege overtook the U.S. Capitol — were potentially exposed to someone infected with the coronavirus, the Office of the Attending Physician warned Sunday.
On Jan. 6, House lawmakers “were in protective isolation” in a room located in a large committee hearing space, according to an email from attending physician Brian Monahan that was sent to all lawmakers and their staff on Sunday.
The lawmakers gathered for safety as the mob of President Donald Trump supporters descended on the Capitol last week, in an attempt to disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
“The time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others,” Monahan said. “During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”
Several Republicans were seen without masks while in the crowded room, despite being offered extras by Democrats. Masks have been a point of contention among lawmakers at times over recent weeks.
Monahan did not say how many lawmakers were in the room, but called on lawmakers to continue daily coronavirus risk reduction measures, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
On Friday. Robert Redifield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had warned that Wednesday’s rioting was likely to have significant consequences in terms of the pandemic. “You have to anticipate that this is another surge event,” he told McClatchy. “You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol,”