A Riot Amid a Pandemic: Did the Virus, Too, Storm the Capitol?

Three distinct teams — Capitol Police, rioters and members of Congress — “have been spending time indoors, with out social distancing, for lengthy intervals of time,” stated Dr. Joshua Barocas, an infectious illnesses doctor at Boston College. The melee seemingly was a super-spreader occasion, he added, “particularly given the backdrop of the extremely transmissible variants which are circulating.”

Dr. Barocas was referring to a extremely contagious new variant of the coronavirus, first recognized in Britain. It has been noticed in a number of U.S. states however could effectively have unfold all over the place within the nation, making occasions just like the Capitol riot much more dangerous, he stated.

The concept that members of Congress could have been uncovered, amid an already tough switch of energy, notably disturbed some scientists. “I’m frightened not solely that it may result in super-spreading, but additionally super-spreading to people who find themselves elected officers,” stated Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Heart for Well being Safety on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being.

And contaminated members of Congress and legislation enforcement may have unfold the virus to at least one one other as they sheltered from the violence, he famous.

Rep. Jake LaTurner, Republican of Kansas, introduced on Twitter early Thursday morning that he had examined constructive for the virus. Mr. LaTurner was cloistered within the chamber with different members of Congress for a lot of the day.

No less than a dozen of the 400 or so lawmakers and employees who have been huddling in a single committee room refused to put on masks even after being provided one, or wore them improperly beneath their chins, stated Consultant Susan Wild, Democrat of Pennsylvania.

They gathered in a committee room that shortly turned crowded, making social distancing inconceivable, she stated. Among the lawmakers have been unmasked, and several other have been shouting: “Tensions have been excessive, and folks have been yelling at one another.”


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