Two members of Congress announced Wednesday that they have been diagnosed with Chinese virus, the first known cases within Congress of the deadly illness that continues to spread across all 50 states and gouge the economy.
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, and Representative Ben McAdams, a Utah Democrat, have both self-quarantined after testing positive for the virus, the congressmen each said.
Diaz-Balart, 58, said he began to experience symptoms Saturday evening after voting on the House floor with more than 400 other lawmakers on a coronavirus response package. He will self-quarantine in Washington, D.C. out of concern for his wife in Florida, who has an existing condition and would be “at exceptionally high risk.” McAdams, 45, said his mild symptoms also began Saturday night after he returned to Utah.
“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” Diaz-Balart said in a statement. “However, it is important that everyone take this extremely seriously and follow CDC guidelines in order to avoid getting sick and mitigate the spread of this virus. We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”
“My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantined,“ McAdams informed in a statement. “On Tuesday, my doctor instructed me to get tested for COVID-19 and following his referral, I went to the local testing clinic for the test. Today I learned that I tested positive.”
Three other members of Congress said they will also self-quarantine after they had contact with the two lawmakers. Republican minority whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, 54, will self-quarantine since he had an “extended meeting” with Diaz-Balart late last week.
Scalise, the highest-ranking member of Congress to self-quarantine, said he has no symptoms. Representatives Drew Ferguson and Ann Wagner will also self-quarantine after coming into contact with lawmakers who tested positive.
The coronavirus has infected more than 8,300 people in the U.S., and more than 140 people have died.