38 Capitol Police Officers Test Positive For COVID After Capitol Riot
Following the riot that shook the US on January 6, 38 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for COVID as a result.
The union representing the Capitol Police confirmed the news yesterday, January 24.
It’s currently unclear how many of the 38 officers were at the riot, but health officials have expressed concerns that the large numbers of unmasked people at the riot may have spread the virus.
It was reported that 19 officers had tested positive for COVID by Friday, January 22, Gus Papathanasiou, chair of the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee, told CNN. Again, it could not be confirmed if all 19 had been on duty during the riot.
It’s thought around 1,400 Capitol Police officers were on duty at the time of the riot earlier this month, alongside members of the DC Metropolitan police force.
Describing the riot, Papathanasiou told The Washington Post:
But everyone’s on top of each other. Then when you’ve got pepper spray and pepper balls being used, people are coughing and bodily fluids are all over the place.
Discussing the evident surge in cases, former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield said, ‘I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol.’
There have also been several reported cases of people in Congress having contracted the virus following the riot, after many people sheltered in place together in small spaces.
New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman tweeted on January 11, ‘Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a Covid test. I have tested positive.’
In a statement given by Coleman’s office, it said that the congresswoman ‘believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the US Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots. As reported by multiple news outlets, a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks,’ CNN reports.
Capitol staff members received a memo from the Capitol’s attending physician, Dr. Brian P. Monahan, warning of potential COVID exposure as a result of the riot.
Part of the memo read:
On Wednesday January 6, many members of the House community were in protective isolation in (a) room located in a large committee hearing space. 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.
As of January 21, more than 50 lawmakers and 220 workers had tested positive for COVID, NPR reports.
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