Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush revealed Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 making him the latest member of Congress to be affected by the spike in coronavirus cases. Rush, who is 75-years-old, says he hasn’t experienced any symptoms and is vaccinated and recently received his booster shot.
The former Black Panther leader who penned the The Emmett Till Antilynching Act announced his breakthrough case in a pair of tweets. He is the eleventh lawmaker to test positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks, according to NBC News.
“Today, after being notified of a recent exposure, I tested positive with a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Fortunately, I am fully vaccinated and recently received my booster shot. I am feeling fine,” he wrote.
Rush represents several cities in Illinois’ 1st District, including Chicago, according to The Hill, which is currently introducing new COVID-19 safety measures as cases rise thanks to COVID-19's newest alarming variant,
Omarion Omicron. He has notably been against race-based misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and supports mask mandates.
Rush is one of almost a dozen lawmakers to announce that they’ve tested positive since Dec. 18, when Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., said he’d tested positive and was experiencing mild, flu-like symptoms. Rush’s announcement brings the number of House members who say they’ve tested positive to eight; three senators have also tested positive.
All of the lawmakers have said they are vaccinated and have been experiencing mild or no symptoms. The spike in Congress has come as there has been a surge in cases in Washington, D.C., and other areas of the country thanks to the omicron variant of the coronavirus that has killed over 800,000 people nationwide.
Hospitalizations around the country have risen 39 percent from Nov. 1 to last week, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
“I will be quarantining and following the latest guidance from the @CDCgov and @ChiPublicHealth. As cases rise and the Omicron variant spreads throughout the nation, I encourage everyone who has not yet done so to get vaccinated and get boosted as soon as possible,” Rush tweeted.
The CDC recently shortened its isolation recommendation from 10 days to five days after testing positive, and if asymptomatic then a person can leave quarantine and continue to wear a mask around others for another five days.
Yes, this is a real announcement that came as case numbers began to rise during the holiday season. And to make it worse, the CDC also gives an alternative, specifically to those who are vaccinated: if you can’t quarantine for five days after exposure, just wear a mask for the next 10 days while you go out. For those with boosters, no quarantine needed, just wear a mask.
Coronavirus has killed more than 800,000 people.