How coronavirus is disrupting daily life on Capitol Hill

Published: Oct. 4, 2020 at 11:52 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Coronavirus continues to disrupt daily life on Capitol Hill.

Three Republican senators announced they tested positive for the virus over the weekend. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) have joined more than a dozen lawmakers who have reported infection since the pandemic began.

Back in early March, following the Conservative Action Political Conference, an attendee tested positive after reportedly greeting members of Congress at the event near Washington D.C. The situation sparked a slow and temporary Capitol exodus. Weeks later, House leaders changed the rules to allow lawmakers to cast votes remotely.

Since then, the Gray Television Washington News Bureau has interviewed several lawmakers who have contracted coronavirus and recovered.

Our team interviewed Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) in April, following his two-week quarantine. Cunningham described his symptoms as “mild.”

“This virus can have an expansive and wide breadth of impact on folks, from minor symptoms like mine, to the more severe symptoms,” said Cunningham during the April interview.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-L.A.), a physician, tested positive in August. He described his process of balancing work and self-care.

“You sleep a lot. You sleep, and then you are a little foggy. You don’t realize it, but when that fog starts to lift, you realize, ‘I wasn’t myself,'” said Cassidy. “I Zoomed; I Skyped; I made phone calls. I stayed in a small garage apartment.”

Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), who is also a physician, says he experienced several symptoms back in April.

“It was intense for the first 12-18 hours,” said Dunn. “But then, it was really gone. Twenty-four hours later I was working.”

Dunn says he remains optimistic about medical solutions.

“The vaccines are going to be ready rolling off the line this year,” he added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has postponed all floor proceedings until Oct. 19. The Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings are expected to convene on Oct. 12 as scheduled. The House has adjourned for October recess.

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