How many lawmakers have tested Covid positive this week?

Joe Biden was tested for Covid after he came in contact with a positive staffer, but tested negative

Shweta Sharma
Friday 24 December 2021 07:33 GMT
US president Joe Biden coughs while speaking on the Covid pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington
US president Joe Biden coughs while speaking on the Covid pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington (EPA)

The US Congress has been hit by a Covid-19 outbreak with at least 10 lawmakers having contracted the disease in the span of a week.

The reported infections have occurred even as the US is witnessing the hastening spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Delaware senator Chris Coon became the 10th and latest member of the Congress to contract Covid, he said in a tweet on Thursday.

“In recent weeks I have been tested for COVID-19 regularly, both with rapid tests and PCR tests, and last night I got bad news – I tested positive,” Mr Coon tweeted.

“I have minimal symptoms so far and am optimistic I will recover well after isolating and following CDC [US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines.”

He regretted that “like millions of other families, it seems we’ll also be wrestling with another holiday spent on Zoom and cancelled plans for travel or gathering.”

His announcement came hours after Jan Schakowsky and Antonio Delgado, Democrat representatives from Illinois and New York respectively, and and House majority whip James Clyburn announced on Wednesday that they contracted the infection as well.

Ms Schakowsky said she tested positive after her husband contracted the infection.

“As I mentioned in my weekly video, my husband Bob tested positive for COVID Friday. Yesterday I was having a bit of fever and feeling ill,” she said in a tweet on Wednesday evening.

“After several negative tests in the days before, I tested positive for COVID last night. We are both vaccinated and received the booster. I’m feeling ok, and quarantining with my husband and our dogs,” she said.

Mr Clyburn, the number three Democrat and chair of the coronavirus select committee, announced that he had got a breakthrough infection, forcing him to miss his granddaughter’s wedding.

“Tonight, I received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. This is a breakthrough case, and I am asymptomatic,” the 81-year-old said.

Other lawmakers who tested positive included senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, representative Jason Crow, Matt Cartwright, Barbara Lee and Nicole Malliotakis, the only Republican.

Seven staff members travelling with deputy defence secretary Kathleen Hicks to Hawaii last week contracted Covid, the Pentagon said.

Ms Hicks and members of her personal staff, however, tested negative.

“Seven members of the travelling and advance staff who accompanied Deputy Secretary Hicks on her domestic trip last week have tested positive for COVID-19,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday. “All staff members who tested positive are quarantined, in keeping with CDC guidelines.”

Ahead of the holiday season, the US has witnessed a surge in Covid cases as Omicron has raced ahead to become the dominant variant in the country, accounting for more than 73 per cent of the cases till last week.

The average number of cases has surged from 26 per cent to 83 per cent in the last seven days, according to a Reuters tally.

President Joe Biden himself had been in close contact with a White House staffer who later tested positive.

The president tested negative on Wednesday, the White House said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in