Adriano Espaillat is the last member of Congress to test positive for the virus after the Capitol siege.


Representative Adriano Espaillat, Democrat of New York, announced Thursday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, as concerns continue to mount on Capitol Hill that efforts to lock lawmakers in safe places during the siege of last week by Trump supporters could have led to a super spreader event.

Mr Espaillat, 66, who said he received his second dose of a coronavirus vaccine last week, said he was isolating himself at home. In a statement on Twitter, he said he understood that it took time for the vaccine to be fully effective and that he “continued to be tested regularly, to wear my mask and to follow the recommended guidelines.”

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that people who test positive for the coronavirus must self-isolate for at least 10 days after the onset of their symptoms.

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Mr Espaillat did not specify what vaccine he had received, what type of test he had done or if he had symptoms. The two vaccines licensed for emergency use in the United States, manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, have been shown to be about 95% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19. But neither of the two vaccines is perfect, and researchers still don’t know how much vaccines reduce the virus’s ability to silently infect people.

Vaccines, which train the immune system to recognize and ward off viruses and other infectious microbes, also take a while to kick in and should not be fully effective until about a week or two after a person has received the vaccine. final dose. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two injections, separated by three or four weeks.

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Capitol Hill has long struggled to control the spread of the pandemic within its marble walls, a random effort escalated last week as hundreds of unmasked Trump supporters stormed the building and forced lawmakers to shut down. shelter in secure, confined areas throughout the Capitol complex. Lawmakers, aides and journalists who took refuge in two separate rooms on both sides of the Capitol have been warned of possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Although cases have continued to emerge since the 117th Congress was sworn in almost two weeks ago, House Democrats have blamed a group of their fellow Republicans who refused to wear masks while waiting for forces in the order take back control of the building.

Since testing positive the day after the attack, Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman, Democrat of New Jersey, Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, and Brad Schneider, Democrat of Illinois, have all cited Republican refusal to wear masks for headquarters. Rep. Ayanna S. Pressley, Democrat from Massachusetts, is in isolation after her husband, who was with her in the room, tested positive and said in a statement the diagnoses were the result of “my callous Republican colleagues” who refused to wear masks. .

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We did not know if M. Espaillat had taken refuge in this room. But on Wednesday, he was among lawmakers who spoke in the House – while wearing a mask – before voting to impeach President Trump for the second time.

Responding to accusations and concerns from lawmakers over the spread of the virus on Capitol Hill, the House earlier this week approved a system of fines for members who refuse to adhere to a mask mandate on the floor.


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