Story at a glance
- Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the incident will likely lead to more cases among lawmakers.
- “Of course, when you have people in close indoor settings without social distancing or masks there are likely going to be some infections,” Fauci told The Daily Beast.
The nation’s top infectious diseases expert says the scene of Congress members — some without masks — taking shelter in crowded rooms while the U.S. Capitol was being overrun with rioters looked like a “subway car during rush hour,” The Daily Beast reports Tuesday.
At least three Democratic lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 after they were hunkered down in committee rooms with many of their colleagues for multiple hours during the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol. The attending physician to Congress cautioned the incident could become a superspreader event and advised House members and staff to get tested immediately.
Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) announced they tested positive over a 24-hour period. All three pointed the finger at several of their Republican colleagues who refused to wear masks during the lockdown for their positive results.
Footage first published by Punchbowl News last week showed GOP members who were not wearing masks and refused to take masks that were offered while in the room.
Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the incident will likely lead to more cases among lawmakers.
“Of course, when you have people in close indoor settings without social distancing or masks, there are likely going to be some infections,” Fauci told The Daily Beast.
“I’m just gonna stick by what I have said maybe 5,000 times in the last several months—the recommendation is that you wear masks uniformly, you keep physical distance, you avoid congregate settings, particularly indoors, and you wash your hands as often as you possibly can. Any deviation of that by anybody is creating a risk for acquisition and or spread of infection. Doesn't matter who you are,” Fauci told the outlet.
Two House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a bill to fine lawmakers who do not wear masks on Capitol grounds. The proposed legislation would fine members of Congress $1,000 per day for declining to wear a face covering.
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