4

Two Congresswomen Stuck in Room With Maskless Andy Biggs During Capitol Riot Have COVID

Two Congresswomen Stuck in Room With Maskless Andy Biggs During Capitol Riot Have COVID
Flickr
^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

While a deranged mob invaded the United States Capitol last Wednesday, lawmakers in the building retreated to a committee hearing room, seeking safety.

The mob, incited by baseless claims of election fraud made by President Donald Trump and members of Congress such as Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, murdered a police officer but did not kill any politicians. The events of last week could still prove tragic, though, due to the fact that so many lawmakers and staff were crammed into close quarters in the middle of a pandemic spread via airborne transmission.

Not helping matters was the fact that a handful of Republican Congressmen in the room refused to wear masks. One of them was Biggs.

This afternoon, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey announced that she has tested positive for COVID-19. She blames the gathering in the secure room, and specifically the members of Congress who wouldn't put on a mask.

"[Coleman] believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots," a release from Watson's office reads. "As reported by multiple news outlets, a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks."

Coleman's concerns about the gathering have been echoed by no less than Dr. Brian Monahan of Congress' Office of Attending Physician. The Washington Post reports that Monahan wrote in a letter to members of Congress on Sunday that "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.”

Biggs' office did not respond to a request for comment.

Update: Another member of Congress in the room with Biggs has tested positive for the virus. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington — who told The Cut last week that “there were over 100 people [in the room] and many Republicans not wearing masks” — told the Seattle Times Monday night that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them," she said. "Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack.” Jayapal quarantined immediately after leaving the secure room last Wednesday, she told the newspaper. 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.