Sen. Rand Paul Has Tested Positive For The Coronavirus
Paul is the first senator to announce he has COVID-19.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul has tested positive for the coronavirus, a staff member announced on Sunday.
According to a tweet from the Kentucky Republican's account, Paul does not have symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, though he tested positive.
"He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events," the tweet said. "He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person."
Paul is the first US senator to test positive for the disease, and two members of the House of Representatives — Reps. Mario Díaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, and Utah Democrat Ben McAdams — tested positive last week.
Paul was present at the US Capitol last week as the Senate has remained in session — in spite of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people avoid gathering in groups of 10 or larger. His staff began working remotely 10 days ago, a tweet from Paul's account said.
"He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time," the Paul statement said.
On Wednesday, Paul was one of eight senators who voted against a $100 billion stimulus package, which provided free coronavirus testing as well as expanding unemployment and some sick leave. Paul argued the funding should be offset by cuts to other government spending.
Lawmakers are continuing to work on legislation that would provide aid to Americans as the outbreak has spiked unemployment claims and shuttered many small businesses.
In addition to the lawmakers who have tested positive for the disease, more than two dozen others are self-quarantining because they've come into contact with someone who has tested positive. Some congressional staffers have told BuzzFeed News they're concerned they could be exposed by coming to work.
“Why are we here? Why are we risking our health? To protect the stock market?” one staffer said last week in the halls of the Capitol.