Five more House Dems test positive for COVID-19 in latest uptick; all were vaccinated and boosted

Another five House Democrats have announced they have tested positive for COVID-19, and every single one of them are super grateful they’ve been fully vaccinated and boosted against the virus that is once again sweeping the Washington D.C. area.

Since Friday, Reps Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), and Elaine Luria (D-VA) have joined a group of high-profile lawmakers and Biden administration officials in announcing they have received positive COVID-19 test results, The Hill reports.

Among those infected in the past week are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Some experts are warning the new “breakthrough cases” may signal the start of another wave of COVID cases, BA.2, and even more transmissible subvariant of omicron, makes its way across the nation.

“I do think we’re going to see an uptick nationally,” Crystal Watson, senior scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security, said. “The question is really how high it will get.”

While Watson says the D.C. cases among lawmakers “may be a reflection” of a new COVID wave, she concedes that it’s “hard to tell” what conclusions should be drawn.

“I do think we’re generally seeing an uptick in cases in D.C.,” Watson noted.

According to The Hill, the outbreak may be traceable to the annual Gridiron Dinner, at which, organizers claim, 53 attendees were infected.

It’s a risk Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, says is simply part of “living with COVID-19.”

“There are those who would argue it’s irresponsible to hold parties that could turn into super-spreader events,” Wen said in an op-ed for the Washington Post about the Gridiron outbreak. “That was true before vaccines were widely available, but it’s no longer realistic. We need to use a different paradigm — one that’s based on individuals being thoughtful about their own risks and the risks they pose to others.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to stress the importance of getting vaccinated, stressing that those who do are less likely to experience severe symptoms.

While it’s impossible to know whether or not any of the House members would be more ill had they not been vaccinated, every one of them are certain that would be the case.

In a statement issued Sunday by her communications director, Luria, the latest lawmaker to announce their positive status, urged everyone to get the jab.

“She encourages everyone to get the lifesaving vaccine,” Luria’s spokesman said.

One day after Pelosi tested positive, Rep. Blumenauer said he was “feeling well” after waking up with a sore throat and was experiencing “minor cold-like symptoms.”

“I will follow CDC guidance and quarantine,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “I encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted.”

On Twitter, Rep. Krishnamoorthi stated, “Despite testing negative earlier this week, I have unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19.”

“I feel fine,” the lawmaker said, “and I’m grateful I was able to get vaccinated & boosted to protect me from a severe case. I will be isolating & following CDC guidelines.”

“Please,” he added, “get vaccinated & boosted!”

Rep. Pallone also took to Twitter to announce his status, saying, “Thankfully, I’m vaccinated and double boosted so my symptoms are mild.”

“Please get vaccinated and boosted if you haven’t already to protect yourself and your family,” he urged.

And while Rochester didn’t immediately express gratitude, she did say she would be following the CDC guidelines and isolating while “experiencing very mild symptoms.”

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