Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) announced on Monday that she has tested positive for coronavirus following the riot on the Capitol last week.
According to Politico, Coleman was among those sent to an undisclosed location last week while insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. She was kept in isolation with many of her House colleagues, several of whom could be seen on video refusing to wear a mask even when offered one. All members of the House, including staffers, were told on Sunday to get tested as there were concerns the riot resulted in them being exposed to the virus. Watson Coleman tested positive after taking a rapid antigen test.
“While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents,” Watson Coleman said in a statement. The statement went on to say that she is currently in self-isolation and is awaiting the results of a PCR test.
Watson Coleman had already received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that was made available to members of Congress. She is one of the first members of Congress to test positive for the virus following last week’s events.
One of the major concerns that arose following last week’s riot was that it happened during an ongoing pandemic and could potentially be a superspreader event. Footage from the riot shows that very few, if any, of the rioters wore a mask. Given that President Trump and the GOP have managed to politicize self-preservation, it wasn’t that surprising. In fact, Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R) could be heard in the aforementioned video saying “I’m not trying to get political here,” while refusing a mask being offered to him.
High-key, I never want to hear another Republican say they’re “pro-life” again given how little value they’ve placed on preserving human life throughout this pandemic.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has entered a voluntary quarantine as she believes the riot was a superspreader event. “I am convinced that where we ended up, in the secured room — where there were over 100 people and many were Republicans not wearing masks — was a superspreader event,” Jayapal told New York Magazine’s The Cut.
Last Friday, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the McClatchy news service that the Capitol riot was likely a “surge event” that will “have public health consequences.”
“I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol,” Redfield told McClatchy.
It’s unclear who else in Congress has already been tested and if any of those tests have come back positive.