Story at a glance

  • “Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a Covid test. I have tested positive,” Watson Coleman tweeted Monday.
  • A statement from Watson Coleman’s office said the lawmaker “believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots.”
  • One of Watson Coleman’s aides told CNN that the congresswoman was sheltered in a room with six conservative Republicans who were not wearing face coverings while isolating during the Capitol riots.

A New Jersey congresswoman says she believes she contracted the coronavirus after taking shelter in a room with lawmakers who refused to wear masks last week when the United States Capitol was overrun with violent Trump supporters.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) announced Monday she tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving a rapid antigen test.  


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“Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a Covid test. I have tested positive,” Watson Coleman tweeted Monday. 

A statement from Watson Coleman’s office said the lawmaker “believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots. As reported by multiple news outlets, a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks.” 

One of Watson Coleman’s aides told CNN that the congresswoman was sheltered in a room with six conservative Republicans who were not wearing face coverings while isolating during the Capitol riots. 

The 75-year-old congresswoman, who is a cancer survivor, said she is resting at home and is experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms. She is currently isolating and awaiting the results of a PCR test. 

“I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents,” Watson Coleman said in a statement. 

On Sunday, the Capitol’s attending physician warned of a possible risk of COVID-19 exposure after a large group of lawmakers were forced to gather in a secure location while rioters breached the U.S. Capitol. All House members and staff were advised to get tested. 

Watson Coleman is one of the first lawmakers to test positive for the coronavirus following the insurrection. She recently received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which has been made available to members of Congress, but the vaccine does not provide instant immunity and is not fully effective until the second dose is administered several weeks later. 


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Published on Jan 11, 2021