After the joint meeting, four members of Congress were confirmed to be infected with the disease

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat, announced Monday (Jan. 11) that she had tested positive for the Chinese Communist virus (Wuhan pneumonia) after a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, becoming the latest member of Congress to announce the diagnosis to the public after the joint session.

Like Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Calif.), Jayapal said earlier Monday that she had tested positive for the virus and blamed Republican colleagues for refusing to wear masks, leaving lawmakers in a secure room where they were at risk of spreading the virus when protesters stormed the Capitol and interrupted the joint session.

In a statement, Jayapal said, “Many Republicans still refuse to take the most basic COVID-19 precaution of wearing a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic, leading to incidents of super-spreaders or multiple people contracting new diseases.” She thus called for fines for lawmakers who refuse to wear masks in the Capitol.

Jayapal, who has been home in isolation since Jan. 7, did not say whether she had developed symptoms. Her office did not immediately respond to inquiries.

Brian Monahan, an attending physician at the Capitol, issued a memo to lawmakers Jan. 10 noting that a large number of lawmakers may have been exposed to patients carrying the virus due to their close proximity when they took refuge in the safe room, and said lawmakers should be tested as a precautionary measure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the incubation period for the CCP virus is two to 14 days. Although experts say wearing a mask can reduce the probability of spreading the virus. However, people can contract the virus from others whether they wear a mask or not.

Rep. Jacob LaTurner (R-Texas), who was just sworn into Congress, was the first member of Congress to announce the diagnosis after the joint session, spending several hours in the Capitol before testing positive.

He was followed by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (D-N.Y.), who was diagnosed in recent days. Fleischmann blamed the diagnosis on exposure to “another confirmed congressman” who lived with him in Washington. He said in a statement that he feels “fine” physically and is in isolation while continuing to work, “I again want to urge all Americans to continue to wear masks, practice good hygiene, and follow the CDC’s guidance as we work to combat COVID-19. “

In addition, Representatives Kay Granger (D-CA), Michelle Steel (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (D-CA) and Kevin Brady (D-CA) all missed the joint session due to the diagnosis of the CCP virus. Congresswoman-elect Maria Salazar has not yet been sworn in after testing positive late last year.

Gwen Moore and Rick Larsen, who were diagnosed last December, returned to Washington in January. Congressman Moore returned before completing the CDC’s recommended quarantine period.