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Coronavirus | Five members of U.S. Congress test positive

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Thune, missed the March 25 Senate vote on the $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill after feeling ill and flying home to South Dakota.

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Thune, missed the March 25 Senate vote on the $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill after feeling ill and flying home to South Dakota.   | Photo Credit: AFP

An estimated 230 House members returned to Washington to pass the $2.2 trillion Economic Relief Bill despite the health risks of travelling and gathering at the Capitol.

Six members of the U.S. Congress have announced that they have contracted the novel coronavirus, and more than 30 others are or were self-quarantining in hopes of limiting the spread of the pandemic.

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Now that Congress has passed a $2.2 trillion Economic Relief Bill, and President Donald Trump has signed it into law, neither the House of Representatives nor Senate is now due back in Washington before April 20 at the earliest. An estimated 230 House members returned to Washington to pass the relief package on Friday, despite the health risks of travelling and gathering at the Capitol, after Republican Representative Thomas Massie said he would block an effort to pass it without at least half of the House’s 430 members present.

Who has the virus?

Representative Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said on Friday he had tested positive for the coronavirus at a drive-through testing site. Mr. Kelly said in a statement he had started experiencing mild flu-like symptoms, and his doctor ordered the coronavirus test. Representative Joe Cunningham, a Democrat from South Carolina, said on Friday he had tested positive for the coronavirus, although his symptoms had already begun to improve. Mr. Cunningham had been in self-quarantine since March 19 after learning he had been in contact with another member of Congress who had tested positive.

Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, said on March 22 that he had tested positive and was in quarantine. He said he was asymptomatic and feeling fine and was tested out of an abundance of caution. He had been in the Senate and using the gym there in the days before he received his positive result.

Republican Representative from Florida Mario Diaz-Balart said on March 18 that he tested positive after developing symptoms on March 14. That was less than 24 hours after he and more than 400 other members of the House of Representatives crowded into the chamber to pass an earlier coronavirus aid package. Utah Democrat Ben McAdams said on March 18 that he had the virus, also having developed symptoms on March 14. In a statement March 24, Mr. McAdams said he had been in the hospital and doctors were monitoring his occasional need for oxygen. He has since been released from the hospital.

Representative Nydia Velazquez, a Democrat from New York, announced in a statement on Monday that she had been diagnosed with a presumed case of coronavirus, although she had not been tested, after developing symptoms of the ailment on Sunday. Ms. Velazquez was among the House members who returned to the Capitol on Friday.

Who is self-quarantined?

At least six of the 100 senators have self-quarantined because of exposure to Mr. Paul or others who tested positive for coronavirus. They are Republicans Cory Gardner, Lindsey Graham, Rick Scott and Ted Cruz. All have returned to public life. Over two dozen House members have self-quarantined, some after exposure to Diaz-Balart or McAdams, and others after contacts with constituents or staffers who tested positive. Not all are still in isolation.

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Thune, missed the March 25 Senate vote on the $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill after feeling ill and flying home to South Dakota. He later announced that a coronavirus test had come back negative.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 4:07:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/coronavirus-five-members-of-us-congress-test-positive/article31213004.ece

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