Rep. Pramila Jayapal Tests Positive for COVID After Capitol Lockdown

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has tested positive for COVID-19, linking her catching the virus to being locked down in the U.S. Capitol as it was stormed in scenes of violence last week.

Jayapal spoke of being placed in a secured room as the events unfolded on January 6 with other lawmakers, and alleged "numerous Republican lawmakers recklessly refused to wear masks" amid the riot.

"Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them," Jayapal said in a statement.

"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."

She is quarantining, and had been doing so since January 6 due to her concerns over the potential for COVID-19 spread in the room she was placed in.

Jayapal has also called for "serious fines to be immediately levied on every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol."

"Additionally, any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms," her statement added.

"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."

Newsweek has contacted Rep. Jayapal's office for further comment.

Jayapal's statement came after fellow Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) also detailed that she had tested positive for COVID-19 following the events at the Capitol.

"Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a Covid test," Watson Coleman tweeted.

"I have tested positive."

In an initial statement, she said she was at home resting—though later detailed that on the advice of her doctor she was visiting a local hospital.

"I want to update everyone. While I feel ok, on my doctor's advice I'm on my way to a local hospital for monoclonal antibody treatment," she tweeted.

"I thank you for the outpouring of supportive messages.

"The love you've sent has been overwhelming.

"Please, wear a mask and social distance."

Newsweek has contacted Watson Coleman's office for further comment.

There were previously concerns expressed that lawmakers may have been exposed to infection while they were locked down.

Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician of the United States Congress, said in an email to members of Congress and staff on Sunday that "individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection" during this period.

pramila jayapal at house judiciary subcommittee
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) looks on during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, July 29, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. She has announced in a statement that she has tested positive for COVID-19. Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images