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 durations of time,” stated Dr. Joshua Barocas, an infectious ailments doctor at Boston College. The melee doubtless was a super-spreader occasion, he added, “particularly given the backdrop of the extremely transmissible variants which might be 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 nicely 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 troublesome switch of energy, significantly disturbed some scientists. “I’m frightened not solely that it might it might result in tremendous spreading, but in addition tremendous spreading to people who find themselves elected officers,” stated Dr. Tom Ingelsby, director of the Middle for Well being Safety at Johns Hopkins College.

And contaminated members of Congress and legislation enforcement might have unfold the virus to 1 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 optimistic for the virus. Mr. LaTurner was cloistered within the chamber with different members of Congress for a lot of the day.

At the least 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 grew to become crowded, making social distancing unattainable, she stated. A number of the lawmakers have been unmasked, and a number of other have been shouting: “Tensions have been excessive, and other people have been yelling at one another.”

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