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 intervals of time,” mentioned Dr. Joshua Barocas, an infectious ailments doctor at Boston College. The melee probably 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 nicely have unfold all over the place within the nation, making occasions just like the Capitol riot much more dangerous, he mentioned.

The concept members of Congress might have been uncovered, amid an already troublesome switch of energy, notably disturbed some scientists. “I’m frightened not solely that it might result in super-spreading, but in addition super-spreading to people who find themselves elected officers,” mentioned Dr. Tom Ingles, director of the Middle for Well being Safety on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being.

And contaminated members of Congress and regulation enforcement might have unfold the virus to 1 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.

At the very least a dozen of the 400 or so lawmakers and employees who have been huddling in a single committee room refused to put on masks even after being supplied one, or wore them improperly beneath their chins, mentioned Consultant Susan Wild, Democrat of Pennsylvania.

They gathered in a committee room that shortly grew to become crowded, making social distancing inconceivable, she mentioned. Among the lawmakers have been unmasked, and several other have been shouting: “Tensions have been excessive, and folks have been yelling at one another.”

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