Covid-19 cases are surfacing yet again in Congress, after a few weeks of semi-normal life following a vaccination push. In the days since news began to spread about a positive case in Nancy Pelosi’s office, at least one more congressional staff has been infected.
Rep. Kai Kahele’s office confirmed to BuzzFeed News that an employee from his staff was diagnosed with Covid-19 despite being vaccinated. Michael Ahan, the communications director, said “Yes, a fully vaccinated member of the Congressman’s office tested positive. We are in coordination with the Office of the Attending Physician, and our office policies follow all recommendations and guidelines from the CDC and OAP.”
Multiple states in the U.S. have experienced a sudden increase in Covid-19 cases, primarily due to the extremely contagious Delta variant. These infections, however, are chiefly among those who are unvaccinated. But in a few cases, vaccinated people have also fallen ill.
The new infections appear to be changing behavior on the Hill. BuzzFeed News reported that there were long lines at the Covid-19 testing site in the Capitol this week. Also, Pelosi has started wearing a mask again, despite the House attending physician giving his OK to unmask. A few senior aides and journalists at the Capitol have also started to take extra precautions by donning face masks.
A senior congressional aide told BuzzFeed News, “Yes, there is a real sense of unease, and a number of offices, even those with fully vaccinated staff, are encouraging work from home and urging folks to consider wearing masks when they’re in the office.”
During the last week, a few Republican leaders in Congress have openly recommended that people start getting the vaccine. Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who is, at present, the second-highest-ranking member of the GOP in the House, received a dose of the COVID vaccination recently.