Jan 10, 2021
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor, headed to the hospital for Covid-19 treatment on Monday after testing positive for the coronavirus and becoming mildly ill following last week's shelter-in-place with maskless Republican lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol during the attack by a militant pro-Trump mob.
On Monday afternoon, Watson Coleman tweeted that although she felt fine, she was heading to the hospital to receive monoclonal antibody therapy--a potentially lifesaving treatment received by President Donald Trump and others fortunate enough to have access--following advice from her doctor.
The Washington Postreports Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, on Sunday informed lawmakers that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus while they waited out the Capitol siege in close quarters together.
"The time in [that] room was several hours for some and briefer for others," Monahan said, urging the lawmakers to get tested for coronavirus. "During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection."
\u201cI want to update everyone. While I feel ok, on my doctor's advice I'm on my way to a local hospital for monoclonal antibody treatment. \n\nI thank you for the outpouring of supportive messages. \nThe love you've sent has been overwhelming. \n\nPlease, wear a mask and social distance.\u201d— Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (@Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman) 1610400704
Watson Coleman released a statement earlier on Monday saying she was "experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms" and that "she believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. 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," Coleman Watson's statement added. Indeed, video footage tweeted by multiple accounts shows at least six Republican lawmakers refusing masks being offered by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.).
\u201cWe MUST hold GOP to the rules on the floor & in Capitol. If they want to play Roulette with their own lives, go for it. But no-one should be allowed on the floor or in rooms in violation of our rules and public health. WE ARE AT RISK BECAUSE OF THEM. Follow the rules or leave.\u201d— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@Rep. Pramila Jayapal) 1610394697
Some of the GOP lawmakers who refused masks include Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.); Rep. Scott Perry (Penn.); Rep. Michael Cloud (Texas); Rep. Doug LaMalfa (Calif.); Rep. Markwayne Mullin (Okla.); and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene(Ga.), a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory who previously blasted a congressional mask mandate by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as "an oppressive violation of my rights."
\u201cWhile I was disappointed in my colleagues who refused to wear a mask, I was encouraged by those who did. My goal, in the midst of what I feared was a super spreader event, was to make the room at least a little safer.\u201d— Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (@Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester) 1610147931
\u201cWhile sheltering, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester offered masks to \nRepublicans Marjorie Taylor Greene, Markwayne Mullin, Andy Biggs & more and they refused.\n\nhttps://t.co/WlbLKiyjwn\u201d— jordan (@jordan) 1610388109
While the lawmakers took refuge during the Capitol assault, at least hundreds of mostly maskless Trump supporters rampaged through the building, hopped up on lies spread by some congressional Republicans and the president that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" from the him.
Public health experts said the riot, as well as participants' travel to and from Washington, D.C., would likely further exacerbate a pandemic in which more than 22.5 million Americans have been infected and at least 375,000 people have died.
Scott Gottlieb, a physician and former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said on CBS "Face the Nation" Sunday that there will be "chains of transmission that come out of that kind of mass gathering."
News of Watson Coleman's hospitalization comes as House Democrats on Monday introduced articles of impeachment accusing Trump of "incitement of insurrection," and amid reports of an FBI bulletin warning of possible armed right-wing protests at numerous state Capitols in coming days and at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.
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