More than a half-dozen members of Congress have announced they tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days as the Omicron surge continues across many areas of the country.
Reps. Ben Cline, R-Va., Rick Crawford, R-Ark., and John Katko, R-N.Y., all said they tested positive for the virus on Monday.
“I took a COVID-19 test on Saturday and the result was positive,” Cline said in a statement. "I have been vaccinated, and after consulting with my physician, I am taking all necessary precautions to isolate here at home in Virginia. Thanks to everyone for their support and assistance.”
A statement from Crawford's office said he was fully vaccinated and had no major symptoms. Crawford said he credited former President Donald Trump for the creation of the vaccines and said he was remaining “focused on fighting to retake control” of the House.
In a tweet, Katko said he was fully vaccinated and boosted and had only mild symptoms.
Over the weekend, Reps. Young Kim, R-Calif., Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Sean Casten, D-Ill., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., announced they had contracted COVID-19. Ocasio-Cortez’s office issued a statement Sunday saying she “is experiencing symptoms and recovering at home,” noting that she had received a booster shot in the fall and is encouraging others to get theirs as well.
It is possible that additional members have contracted the virus but have not revealed that information. The House allows for proxy voting, meaning those who are isolating while recovering from the virus will still be able to participate in the legislative process.
While many Republican legislators have promoted the vaccines, numerous others have baselessly insisted that the shots are unsafe. At the end of last year, the Twitter account for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee deleted a tweet that read “If the booster shots work, why don’t they work?” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., had her personal Twitter account permanently banned the next day for her continual spreading of COVID misinformation. According to tracking from the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 59 percent of Republicans have been vaccinated, versus 91 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents.
Over the last 14 days, there have been increases of 215 percent in cases, 82 percent in hospitalizations and 16 percent in deaths, per tracking from the New York Times. According to the same data, hospitalizations in Washington, D.C., are up 183 percent over the last two weeks.
Cover thumbnail photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images, Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images