More Than 150 National Guard Members Deployed To Washington DC Test Positive For Coronavirus
More than 150 members of the National Guard who were on duty in Washington DC during Joe Biden’s inauguration have tested positive for coronavirus.
Around 25,000 troops were deployed to the capital to ensure no violence broke out during the transition of power, following the deadly riots that took place on Capitol Hill just weeks prior.
An official confirmed the outbreak to Reuters, but pointed out that the number of people infected remained lower than 1% of all those working across the US Capitol.
Around 10,500 troops are still on duty, protecting the government buildings, while 15,000 are expected to return to their home states within the next five to 10 days.
However, 7,000 are expected to stay in Washington DC until at least the end of this month, with 5,000 remaining until the middle of March.
A spokesperson for the National Guard said it would not comment on the COVID-19 cases, but confirmed that troops were following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which included temperature checks when they left their home state and arrived in Washington DC, in addition to a screening questionnaire.
Photos emerged showing National Guard members forced to sleep in a parking garage on their breaks, with Congress members calling for an investigation into why the troops had not been given an adequate place to rest.
President Joe Biden is said to have expressed his dismay at the troops not being given proper sleeping arrangements, and First Lady Jill Biden delivered baskets of cookies to off-duty guards to thank them for protecting her and her family over the previous week.
‘I know you left your home states. I just wanted to come today to say thank you to all of you for keeping me and my family safe. The White House baked you some chocolate chip cookies,’ she said.
‘The National Guard will always hold a special place in the hearts of all the Bidens. Our son Beau was Delaware Army National Guard. He served for a year in Iraq from 2008 to 2009. So I’m a National Guard mom and when I saw all that you’ve done and you left your home states and you’ve come here, I just wanted to say thanks from President Biden and my entire family.’
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