Three U.S. Senators Test Positive in Breakthrough Infections
(Bloomberg) -- Three U.S. senators tested positive for Covid-19 despite being vaccinated, bringing to at least six the number of members of Congress to report recent infections.
GOP Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, independent Angus King of Maine and Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado revealed getting positive tests Thursday.
A spokesman for Wicker, 70, said the senator was tested Thursday after experiencing “mild symptoms.” The spokesman, Phillip Waller, said in a statement that Wicker in “good health,” is being treated by his family physician and is isolating.
King, 77, said he has taken “all precautions necessary” against the virus -- including getting vaccinated, wearing masks and social distancing.
“Despite all my efforts, when I began feeling mildly feverish yesterday, I took a test this morning at my doctor’s suggestion, and it came back positive,” he said in a statement. “While I am not feeling great, I’m definitely feeling much better than I would have without the vaccine.”
Hickenlooper, 69, said he has has “mild symptoms” and is isolating per his doctor’s instructions. He said in a statement he is “grateful for the vaccine (& the scientists behind it) for limiting my symptoms” and encouraged others to get vaccinated.
Earlier this month that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina reported he tested positive. Two House members also reported similar results recently.
Covid cases are surging across the U.S., spurred by the highly transmissible delta variant. The outbreak has brought calls for ramped-up public health measures, including a return to masking and some employers mandating vaccinations or regular testing for employees.
The response to the uptick in cases has sharpened partisan lines. Wicker joined several other Republican senators in June calling for an end to mask requirements on public transportation, including airplanes, buses and trains. In a Facebook post that month he called such mandates “hogwash.”
Mississippi is one of the states with the lowest rates of vaccination and the biggest recent jump in infections. Hospitals in Mississippi are sending patients out of the state for treatment as they reach capacity. Maine and Colorado rank near the bottom of states in overall infection rate.
The House and Senate are currently on recess. The House has already imposed a mask mandate for members, while in the Senate masks are recommended but not required.
All three senators have been engaged this year on negotiations over bipartisan infrastructure legislation that they supported when it cleared the Senate Aug. 10 on a 69-30 vote.
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