The attending physician for the Capitol warned on Sunday that people who were in one of the protective isolation rooms during the Wednesday attack on the Capitol might have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and should take the appropriate precautions.
“On Wednesday January 6, many members of the House community were in protective isolation in a room located in a large committee hearing space,” attending physician Dr. Brian Monahan wrote in an email. “The time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others. During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”
At least four protests were scheduled in Washington, D.C., for Wednesday, the day Congress was expected to count the votes of the Electoral College and certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Those protests descended into chaos as demonstrators breached the congressional building — smashing windows, breaking into offices, and looting rooms. The vice president and other officials were evacuated, and many lawmakers, Capitol Hill staff, and reporters were rushed to undisclosed protective locations.
Video from the lockdown shows a number of Republican lawmakers and aides refusing to wear masks and declining masks that were being passed out. Rep. Susan Wild told CBS News that “about half” of the lawmakers who were locked down in one chamber refused to wear masks, warning that the lockdown could become a “superspreader event.”
At least one lawmaker who was present Wednesday, Rep. Jake LaTurner, announced that he has since tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Independent.
“It’s what I would call a COVID superspreader event,” Wild said. “About half of the people in the room are not wearing masks. Even though they’ve been offered surgical masks, they’ve refused to wear them. “Some of the newer Republican members are openly flaunting that they are refusing to wear a mask.”
Monahan urged those who were locked down Wednesday to continue monitoring their symptoms and to get tested as soon as they can.
“Please continue your usual daily coronavirus risk reduction measures (daily symptom inventory checklist, mask wear, and social distancing),” Monahan wrote. “Additionally, individuals should obtain an RT-PCR coronavirus test next week as a precaution.”