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Five members of US Congress test positive for the coronavirus

  • Published at 06:35 pm March 28th, 2020
Jamie Raskin, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Kennedy
Democratic US Representatives (L-R) Jamie Raskin, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Kennedy practice social distancing as they discuss the coronavirus bill, on March 27, 2020 AFP

The US House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion economic relief bill on Friday that had already been approved by the Senate

Five members of the US Congress have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and more than two dozen others have said they are self-quarantining in hopes of limiting the spread of the pandemic.

The US House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion economic relief bill on Friday that had already been approved by the Senate. The House acted on a voice vote, and not all of the chamber's 430 current members returned to Washington for it.

Here is a look at some of the lawmakers affected:

Who has the Virus?

Representative Mike Kelly

Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said on Friday he has tested positive for the coronavirus at a drive-through testing site.

Kelly said in a statement he had started experiencing mild flu-like symptoms earlier this week, and his doctor ordered the coronavirus test.

Representative Joe Cunningham

Cunningham, a Democrat from South Carolina, said on Friday he had tested positive for the coronavirus, although his symptoms have already begun to improve.

Cunningham said he had been tested a day ago at a local testing clinic. He said he 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

The Kentucky Republican 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.

Representative Mario Diaz-Balart

The Florida Republican 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 a sweeping coronavirus aid package.

Representative Ben McAdams

The Utah Democrat said on March 18 that he had the virus, also having developed symptoms on March 14. In a statement March 24, the 45-year-old said he had been hospitalized and doctors were monitoring his occasional need for oxygen.

Who is Self-Quarantined?

Republican Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee said on March 22 they would self-quarantine after having spent time with Paul.

Romney said on March 24 that he had tested negative for the virus but would stay in quarantine.

Paul, Romney and Lee all missed the March 25 Senate vote on the coronavirus bill, along with Senator John Thune, who began to feel unwell and flew home to his state of South Dakota that day. Thune, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, was feeling better by the next day and was still monitoring his health but was not in quarantine, his spokesman said.

At least four other senators previously self-quarantined. They are Republicans Cory Gardner, Lindsey Graham, Rick Scott and Ted Cruz. All have since returned to public life.

Democratic Senator and former presidential contender Amy Klobuchar said on March 26 that her husband, 52-year-old John Bessler, had been released from the hospital and was now at home recovering from the coronavirus. She had said several days earlier that she was not at risk because she had not seen him for two weeks.

More than two dozen House members have self-quarantined, some after exposure to Diaz-Balart or McAdams, and others after contacts with their constituents or staffers who later tested positive. Not all are still in isolation.

Two prominent Democratic House members, Ayanna Pressley and Katie Porter, said Thursday they had tested negative a day after they began self-quarantine.

Other members who have self-quarantined include: Republicans Steve Scalise, Mark Meadows, Tom Cole, Doug Collins, Drew Ferguson, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar and Ann Wagner, along with Democrats Don Beyer, Anthony Brindisi, Julia Brownley, Jason Crow, Sharice Davids, Kendra Horn, Andy Kim, Seth Moulton, Gwen Moore, Stephanie Murphy, Ben Ray Lujan, David Price, Kathleen Rice, David Schweikert and John Yarmuth.

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