A Riot Amid a Pandemic: Did the Virus, Too, Storm the Capitol?

Three distinct teams — Capitol Police, rioters and members of Congress — “have been spending time indoors, with out social distancing, for lengthy durations of time,” stated Dr. Joshua Barocas, an infectious ailments doctor at Boston College. The melee doubtless was a super-spreader occasion, he added, “particularly given the backdrop of the extremely transmissible variants which are circulating.”

Dr. Barocas was referring to a extremely contagious new variant of the coronavirus, first recognized in Britain. It has been noticed in a number of U.S. states however might properly have unfold all over the place within the nation, making occasions just like the Capitol riot much more dangerous, he stated.

The concept that members of Congress might have been uncovered, amid an already tough switch of energy, notably disturbed some scientists. “I’m apprehensive not solely that it might it might result in tremendous spreading, but additionally tremendous spreading to people who find themselves elected officers,” stated Dr. Tom Ingelsby, director of the Heart for Well being Safety at Johns Hopkins College.

And contaminated members of Congress and legislation enforcement might have unfold the virus to at least one one other as they sheltered from the violence, he famous.

Rep. Jake LaTurner, Republican of Kansas, introduced on Twitter early Thursday morning that he had examined constructive for the virus. Mr. LaTurner was cloistered within the chamber with different members of Congress for a lot of the day.

No less than a dozen of the 400 or so lawmakers and workers who have been huddling in a single committee room refused to put on masks even after being supplied one, or wore them improperly under their chins, stated Consultant Susan Wild, Democrat of Pennsylvania.

They gathered in a committee room that shortly grew to become crowded, making social distancing unattainable, she stated. A few of the lawmakers have been unmasked, and a number of other have been shouting: “Tensions have been excessive, and folks have been yelling at one another.”

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