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Rep. Pramila Jayapal tests positive for coronavirus after being locked down with lawmakers who wouldn't wear masks

David Gutman, The Seattle Times on

Published in News & Features

Rep. Pramila Jayapal tested positive for coronavirus Monday night, her office said, after she was in lockdown during Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol with “Republican lawmakers who cruelly and selfishly refused to wear masks.”

Jayapal’s office said she was locked in a secure room, as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, for “multiple hours” and several Republican colleagues “not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.”

Jayapal, a Democrat from Seattle, began quarantining immediately after the attack, her office said, fearing that she may have been exposed. In an interview with The Cut, published last week, she said she was quarantining because she was convinced the room she’d been in, “where there were over 100 people and many Republicans not wearing masks, was a superspreader event.”

“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them,” Jayapal said Monday night. “Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack.”

Jayapal, in a prepared statement, did not say if she was feeling ill or experiencing symptoms. She said she would continue to work “to the best of my ability” while in quarantine.

 

“I will not rest until I do everything in my power to remove this President from office,” she said.

Jayapal is the second Democratic member of Congress to test positive since the siege on the Capitol. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., announced a positive test earlier Monday.

In a video posted shortly after the attack, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., can be seen trying to give masks to her colleagues while they’re locked down together during the siege. At least six Republican representatives can be seen in the video, posted by Punchbowl News, refusing the masks.

“I am also calling for serious fines to be immediately levied on every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol,” Jayapal said. “Additionally, any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms. This is not a joke. Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy.”

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