Veteran House lawmaker Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said she had tested positive for the coronavirus in a statement Tuesday evening, joining a growing list of public figures to have been infected recently amid a nationwide surge driven by the omicron variant.
Lee said she had been vaccinated and boosted before her infection. “Fortunately, I have only mild cold-like symptoms,” she said. “But I know it could have been much worse.” The lawmaker said she had received her test results this week and is self-isolating.
Earlier Tuesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said he and his family tested positive.
“As a dad, I’m super concerned, obviously, for my family,” Walz said in a video statement. “This is what happens. The omicron variant and others are out there.”
“Certainly make sure you’re getting your boosters,” he added.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) also said he had tested positive on Monday. “As the Omicron variant becomes dominant, I want to urge you to get vaccinated or get your booster shot as soon as possible,” tweeted Hogan, who said he was self-isolating and experiencing cold-like symptoms.
On Sunday, Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) said he had tested positive after returning from a trip to Ukraine as part of a congressional delegation. On the same day, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey said they had been infected.
All were fully vaccinated and boosted (except Walz’s son, who has not been boosted), and were showing mild or no symptoms.
The White House said Monday that President Biden had been in close contact with an aide who later tested positive for the coronavirus. The president tested negative.
The recent infections occurred as the country is seeing coronavirus cases climb back up amid the continued spread of the delta variant and the emergence of the omicron variant that was first detected in southern Africa.
Infections have risen 27 percent in the past week in the United States, Washington Post figures show. Nearly 62 percent of the country’s 332 million people are fully vaccinated. Less than a third of those fully vaccinated have been boosted.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle were caught in this summer’s surge of the delta variant, as well. In August, Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Angus King (I-Maine), and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) announced their infections on the same day. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) had tested positive that same month. All four senators were over 65 and had been fully vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who are vaccinated may still get infected in what is known as breakthrough cases. “Most people who get COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” the agency says on its website. But vaccine shots significantly reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death, it says.