Five Texas Democrats have tested positive for the Coronavirus after flying mask-less to Washington D.C. to protest against a state election integrity bill while attempting to prevent a quorum for a final vote.
One member tested positive for COVID on Friday Night, according to a statement from the Texas House Democratic Caucus on Saturday, adding that the infected member was fully vaccinated. The caucus then administered rapid tests to all of the members, which came back negative at the time.
Two more members tested positive on Saturday, according to the statement, after they were given a rapid test. It was not immediately clear if the infected individuals were showing symptoms or being quarantined away from the group. However, the Caucus did say that they had consulted CDC guidance, which stated that “fully vaccinated people who had been exposed….do not need to take any additional precautions unless they’re showing symptoms.”
“This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us,” Caucus Chairman Chris Turner said in a statement to the Houston Chronicle. “and although vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions.”
On Monday, the caucus announced that two additional members of the caucus had tested positive for COVID, according to a statement from the Caucus, adding that all five of the positive members were “feeling good, with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.”
The new positives came after the group decided that it would go “beyond CDC guidance” and administer daily rapid tests for all Members in Washington D.C. for the week. It’s unclear whether the new changes will lead to more detected cases or if those who have come in contact with the infected members would do the same.
“Today, I received a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test result. I am fully vaccinated, and had tested negative on Friday and Saturday.” San Antonio Representative Trey Fischer told the Texas Tribune, adding that he would be quarantined until he tested negative and advised the public to get vaccinated.
The five positive cases within the caucus come days after Texas House Democrats are attempting to boycott a final vote on a crucial voter and election integrity bill and flew to Washington D.C. to protest the bill, as reported by Fox News. The move has garnered immense praise from left-wing organizations while drawing harsh criticism and rebuke from right-wing organizations.
In an effort to avoid the vote, the caucus fled the state via Plane after House Republicans in the state voted to order the Sergeant-at-Arms to find and arrest members of the legislature and bring them back for a vote in an effort to meet quorum, the Texas Tribune reported last week. Governor Greg Abbott also defunded the state legislature following the move.
Several photos taken by members on the plane showed that the occupants on the plane were mask-less, despite CDC guidelines advising Americans to wear facial coverings while on public transport.
Several media organizations and political pundits are criticizing the photo op by the caucus as a “political stunt” and also called out the hypocrisy of the caucus for breaking CDC guidelines. Some have also suggested that the move may have jeopardized those on the plane and others they may come into contact with that are unvaccinated.
In May, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer faced criticism for a similar move after she confirmed a report that suggested that she had boarded a plane to visit her father in Florida after she told residents of the state to stay at home during the lockdown. She remained vague on the details of the trip, stating at the time that she had said everything about the trip and that she had “nothing to add.”