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Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal tests positive for COVID-19

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Washington, Jan 12: Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said on Tuesday that she has tested positive for coronavirus after being locked down in a secured room at the US Capitol where several Republican lawmakers recklessly refused to wear masks in the moments after the January 6 attack.

Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal

"I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one," 55-year-old Jayapal tweeted.

In a statement, Jayapal said she began quarantining immediately after the attack on the Capitol, fearing and foreseeing exactly what would occur given the number of maskless lawmakers sitting in the same room with her. The duration in the room was multiple hours, she said.

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

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"Only hours after President (Donald) 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 added.

"While I am isolating per the Capitol Physician’s instructions, I will continue to work to the best of my ability because the deep urgency of our many crises is paramount," she said.

Dr. Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician of the US Congress, advised representatives and Congressional staff on Sunday that those in the secured room could have, "been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection."

"I am also calling for serious fines to be immediately levied on every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol,” Jayapal said.

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

In December, Jayapal was elected as the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), making her one of the most powerful US lawmakers in the 117th Congress. On Monday, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey said that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

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

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