Jan. 14, 2021 -- The coronavirus has affected -- and infected -- almost every aspect of American life, including the U.S. Congress.
Sixty-one members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 -- more than 10% of the 100 senators and 435 representatives. On Wednesday, the New York Times had reported a tally of 60 with 44 Republicans and 16 Democrats testing positive.
Thursday morning, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D) NY tweeted, that he too, had tested positive, bringing the total to 61.
At least five members of Congress have tested positive since House members were forced to shelter together while hundreds of Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. In addition to Espaillat, they include are Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-NJ, Jake LaTurner, R-KS, Pramila Jayapal, D-WA, and Brad Schneider, D-IL.
Coleman, among others, blamed House members who refused to wear facial coverings while sheltering.
The Times reported that Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts said her husband, Conan Harris, has tested positive. He was at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The CDC director has predicted the Jan. 6 riot could easily turn into a super spreader event.
The House attending physician said members should consider getting tested because they might have been exposed to somebody with coronavirus. The attending physician has recommended that members practice social distancing and wear facial coverings but some members don’t follow that advice.
The Times says the 10% infection rate in Congress is higher than the infection rate in the general population, which the Times says is one in 14 Americans, according to its own database. The Times says the national rate is probably higher because many cases have gone undetected.
The CDC says that the overall percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for COVID rose form 12.9% during the 52nd week of 2020 to 15% during the 53rd week.
So far, no member of Congress has died from COVID-19, though one congressman-elect from Louisiana, Luke Letlow, died of coronavirus-related reasons days before being sworn in.