Doctor Warns Lawmakers of Possible Virus Exposure

House members were in a hearing room with an infected person during Capitol attack
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2021 12:40 PM CST
Doctor Warns Lawmakers of Possible Virus Exposure
Republican members applaud as a joint session of Congress convenes Wednesday.   (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

Lawmakers who took refuge during the attack on the Capitol might have been in a room with a person infected with the coronavirus, Congress' attending physician warned Sunday. Some House members spent several hours in the committee hearing room, Dr. Brian Monahan wrote in an email to lawmakers. "During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection," he said. He recommended that the people in that room watch for symptoms to develop, as well as wear masks and practice social distancing. He also suggested they have a coronavirus test, the Washington Post reports. No information was given about the infected person.

Video shows several Republican House members in the room declining masks offered by a Democratic member. Seeing the members without masks angered some congressional staff members, as well as lawmakers, per ABC. Health officials said the attack could well turn out to be a superspreader event. The building was flooded by people not wearing masks, "then these individuals all are going in cars and trains and planes going home all across the country," said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, per McClatchy. (Security is being increased for lawmakers' travel.)

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