Three members of Congress who have tested positive for the coronavirus this week say they believe their infections are linked to their time spent in a secure location with colleagues who did not wear masks during the rampage last week in the U.S. Capitol.
Representative Brad Schneider, Democrat of Illinois, said he received a positive test result Tuesday morning after driving home to Illinois, and that he did not have symptoms. Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey and Pramila Jayapal of Washington announced positive tests on Monday.
The three lawmakers, all Democrats, directly blamed a group of House Republicans who refused to wear masks while sheltering in a secure location during the riot.
“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” Mr. Schneider said.
He called for lawmakers who ignore public health guidance to be sanctioned “and immediately removed from the House floor by the sergeant-at-arms for their reckless endangerment of their colleagues.”
House lawmakers will vote on Tuesday to impose a fine system for not wearing masks on the House floor, after repeated instances in which Republicans have flouted a mask mandate on the floor. Lawmakers will be fined $500 for a first offense and $2,500 for a second offense, a senior Democratic aide said, and the fines will be directly deducted from a member’s paycheck.
The House Office Building Commisssion will be considering the implementation of a similar fine system for a refusal to wear masks in House office buildings and on the House side of the Capitol.
Lawmakers, aides, police officers, reporters and others who fled to secure locations during the siege have been warned that they may have been exposed to the virus.
On Sunday, Representative Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, said that he had tested positive for the virus after being exposed to his roommate, Representative Gus Bilirakis of Florida. Both men are Republicans.
Mr. Fleischmann told a Chattanooga TV station, WRCB, that he was sent a message Wednesday afternoon, during the riot, saying that Mr. Bilirakis had tested positive, but that he did not receive the message right away because he was sheltering in a safe place in the Capitol. Mr. Fleischmann told the TV station that he did not know how many other lawmakers he had contact with that day.
It was not clear whether Mr. Fleischmann was in the secure location with the maskless Republicans. When he announced his own diagnosis, he urged the public to wear masks and follow safety guidelines.
Democrats accused those Republicans who had not worn masks in the secure House location of reckless indifference.
“It angers me when they refuse to adhere to the directions about keeping their masks on,” Ms. Watson Coleman said in an interview. “It comes off to me as arrogance and defiance. And you can be both, but not at the expense of someone else.”
Ms. Jayapal said on Twitter that she had tested positive “after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.”
Ms. Jayapal, who said she had begun quarantining immediately after the siege on the Capitol, also said that any member of Congress who did not wear a mask should be removed from the floor by the sergeant-at-arms and fined.
“This is not a joke,” she said in a statement. “Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy.”