The coronavirus has become real to the political establishment. Whether empathetic or not, it has hit home and one will expect the politicians to govern and pass new policies accordingly.
First 2 members of Congress test positive for coronavirus - POLITICO
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a ninth-term Florida Republican, and Rep. Ben McAdams, a freshman Democrat from Utah, revealed on Wednesday that they had tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first U.S. lawmakers to contract the virus that‘s spreading across the country.
Diaz-Balart, 58, said he began to develop symptoms on Saturday, just hours after he left the House floor for a vote on a coronavirus response bill. More than 400 members of Congress also voted during the early-Saturday session. Diaz-Balart’s statement indicates he decided to “self-quarantine in Washington D.C.” after the vote. His statement doesn’t indicate why he believed he needed to self-quarantine before developing symptoms or whether he informed staff or other members of Congress that he might have exposed them to the illness.
“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” Diaz-Balart said in the statement. “However, it is important that everyone take this extremely seriously and follow CDC guidelines in order to avoid getting sick and mitigate the spread of this virus. We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”
McAdams, 45, also said his symptoms began mildly on Saturday night, after he had returned to Utah. He immediately began self-quarantining on the advice of his doctor.
“My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantined,“ McAdams said in a statement. “On Tuesday, my doctor instructed me to get tested for COVID-19 and following his referral, I went to the local testing clinic for the test. Today I learned that I tested positive.“
Diaz-Balart said he decided to remain in Washington on Saturday because he was concerned about being in his South Florida home, where his wife, who has a pre-existing condition, would be “at exceptionally high risk.”
Like Diaz-Balart, McAdams didn‘t indicate whether he had urged any of his colleagues or aides to self-quarantine.
The news of two members testing positive has already begun rippling across Congress. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) said on Wednesday night that the House doctor had advised him to self-quarantine until March 27 because he “was in contact with a member of Congress on March 13th that has since tested positive for COVID-19.“The House minority whip, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), said on Wednesday that he, too, would self-quarantine because he had held an “extended meeting“ with Diaz-Balart late last week. Scalise is now the highest-ranking lawmaker to self-quarantine amid the outbreak.Overnight, four more lawmakers announced self-quarantines.
One hopes that the realization that political cover does not insulate one from illness would create the necessary compassion to pass appropriate legislation.