Indian American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal tests covid positive

Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal; photo credit: Indian American Impact Fund

Blames Republicans who “cruelly refused to wear a mask” after US Capitol riot.

Indian American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal, who has  tested positive for Covid-19 after being locked down during the January 6 US Capitol riot, has blamed Republicans who “cruelly refused to wear a mask.”

Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state, who serves as chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she decided to get tested because of the possibility of exposure after sheltering in a secured room for more than five hours.

New Jersey representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, another  Democrat who has tested positive cited similar concerns about time spent hunkered down with Republicans who were not wearing masks.

“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them,” Jayapal said in a media release early Tuesday announcing her test results.

“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,” she said.

READ: A shameful chapter in American history (January 11, 2021)

Dr. Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, advised representatives and Congressional staff on Sunday that those in the secured room could have, “been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”

The duration in the room was multiple hours and several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one, Jayapal said.

“While I am isolating per the Capitol Physician’s instructions, I will continue to work to the best of my ability because the deep urgency of our many crises is paramount,” she said.

“I share the outrage and anger of my constituents and those across this country who have watched Donald Trump fail to combat this raging pandemic and refuse to take care of Americans who are suffering, dying, and devastated,” the lawmaker said.

“Now, we have also watched him openly fuel and incite these insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol and our democracy on Jan. 6,” Jayapal said vowing to not “rest until I do everything in my power to remove this President from office.”

Calling “for serious fines to be immediately levied on every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol,” she said, “any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.”

“This is not a joke,” Jayapal said, “Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy.”

Jayapal said she began quarantining immediately after the attack on the US Capitol, fearing and foreseeing exactly what would occur given the number of maskless lawmakers sitting in the same room as her and her colleagues.

In an interview with The Cut on Thursday, she said, “I’m quarantining now because I am convinced that where we ended up, in the secured room — where there were over 100 people and many were Republicans not wearing masks — was a superspreader event.”

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