Washington representative Pramila Jayapal has tested positive for COVID-19 following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The congresswoman attributed the positive test to various Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks while in lockdown in a crowded Capitol room, according to a Jan. 11 press release on her website.
“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them,” Jayapal said in the release. “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.”
Despite Jayapal’s condemnation of the mask-refusing lawmakers, a video clip published on the CBS News Youtube channel shows the congresswoman not wearing a mask as she and other representatives took cover in the gallery above the House floor before being evacuated.
Information is not available regarding how long Jayapal was not wearing a mask in the chamber, and she has not officially responded to the clip. indica News attempted to contact the representative multiple times for comment on the matter, but she did not immediately respond.
Jayapal and the other lawmakers in lockdown spent hours in the room, where several Republicans both refused to don masks and mocked those who attempted to give them face coverings, her press release said. Apart from Jayapal, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Congressman Brad Schneider have also contracted COVID-19 in the wake of the Capitol attack, according to press releases posted on their websites.
Jayapal made the decision to quarantine right away following the cramped lockdown, fearing the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure from her colleagues, the release said. Jayapal has since called for “serious” fines to be imposed on the people who would not wear masks during the siege.
“Additionally, any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms,” Jayapal said in the release. “This is not a joke. 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’s positive COVID test came after receiving the first vaccine dose on Jan. 4, according to The Cut. This supports findings by the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech companies, which created the two currently approved vaccines, that the vaccine’s effectiveness is lower after the first dose than the second, according to sciencenews.org.
In an earlier Jan. 8 press release, Jayapal detailed her experience being inside the Capitol as the mob of Trump supporters attempted to storm the building. She recalled pulling out gas masks from under seats due to tear gas use and getting down on the ground for cover.
“Capitol police barricaded the doors with furniture and had their guns drawn,” Jayapal said in the release. “We were eventually told that we had to quickly exit and took flights of stairs down to a safer location. As we did, we passed insurrectionists who had been trying to break into the very gallery that we had been trapped in.”
Since then, Jayapal has been extremely vocal about holding those responsible for the Capitol insurrection to the accountability of the law. Additionally, she has made a pledge to do her part in removing President Donald Trump, who helped incite the mob’s actions at his “Save America Rally” earlier that day, before President-Elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
“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,” Jayapal said in her Jan. 11 press release. “Now, we have also watched him openly fuel and incite these insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol and our democracy on January 6 – so I will not rest until I do everything in my power to remove this President from office.”