Thursday saw a surge of COVID-19 cases among high-profile Washington D.C. figures. Among those who tested positive were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota, President Biden’s sister Valerie Biden Owens, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Rep Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, and Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
According to Yahoo News, Collins tested positive shortly after the Senate’s historic vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black female Supreme Court Justice. Just one of the three Republicans who broke from their party to confirm Jackson, Collins’ diagnosis came on the heels of Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Dick Durbin stating the confirmation could be disrupted by something like a senator testing for COVID.
Per USA Today, Senator Collins attended the annual Gridiron Dinner on Saturday, April 2. Other attendees included Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who announced positive tests on Wednesday, April 6. In all, more than a dozen people who attended the event have tested positive for COVID.
Speaker Pelosi is currently asymptomatic but will quarantine per CDC guidelines. Her spokesman Drew Hamill tweeted on Thursday that she is “fully vaccinated, boosted, and thankful for the robust protection” provided by the vaccine. Collins is only experiencing mild symptoms and plans on working remotely while she self-isolates. DeFazio announced on Twitter that he had fatigue and mild cold-like symptoms, crediting this reduced impact to being fully vaccinated. He further encouraged everyone to get the COVID vaccine and confirmed he would also be quarantining.
The White House has been vigilant in protecting President Biden from COVID. Having received a second booster in late March, the President did test negative on Wednesday night and will continue to be tested regularly. A White House statement issued on Thursday wished Speaker Pelosi a “speedy recovery.”
The surge comes just before the House’s two-week spring recess. Despite this uptick in cases, Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that the President will go forward with his schedule, including Friday’s event to celebrate Jackson’s SCOTUS confirmation.
She added, “As we continue to fight COVID, for the most part, we can return to our normal lives.”Admin