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Johnson, other Republicans catch COVID-19

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 10/03/20, 02:03 pm

A number of GOP politicians and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus at about the same time as the president and his wife this week. They include former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, White House adviser Hope Hicks, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. On Saturday, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., confirmed he had the virus but no symptoms. Because of the infections, the Senate plans to postpone its floor proceedings until Oct. 19 but will still hold a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett starting Oct. 12.

Where did they get it? Doctors have not pinpointed the exact time or place any of the GOP leaders, including President Donald Trump, were exposed to COVID-19. Christie, Conway, Hicks, Lee, Tillis, and Melania Trump attended the White House Rose Garden ceremony a week ago at which Trump announced Barrett’s nomination. Few attendees wore masks or practiced social distancing. University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins went to support Barrett, an alumna, and has since tested positive. He apologized to students and faculty this week for not wearing a mask at the event, saying, “I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so.” Those affected could have contracted the disease numerous other places, too—Johnson, for example, did not go to the Rose Garden ceremony.

Dig deeper: Read Julie Borg’s report in Beginnings about the possibility that Chinese scientists engineered the coronavirus in a lab.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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    Posted: Mon, 10/05/2020 11:33 am

    "will still hold a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett"


  • Big Jim
    Posted: Mon, 10/05/2020 01:36 pm

    The problem with the Rose Garden ceremony is that it wasn't declared a BLM rally. Then, everybody would have had imputed immunity and the press would have showered them with adoration.

  • not silent
    Posted: Wed, 10/07/2020 10:12 am

    It's true that press coverage these days is rarely objective and that there is a tendency on all sides to give a "pass" to people who agree politically while nailing those who disagree to the wall.  But I think a bigger problem with this particular event (at least as far as people being infected with COVID) was the lack of social distancing and masks.  (From what I've seen, most people protesting social injustice were wearing masks.) 

    As an aside, I want to re iterate that medicine and science involve learning and that it is NORMAL for the "official" line about these things to change as more data becomes available. With human illnesses, there will always be cases that don't fit the "norm."  I'm sure everyone has heard of people who smoked heavily for years and never got cancer or heart disease and people who never smoked but still died of lung cancer. The thing is that smoking or not smoking isn't the only factor that contributes to the development of cancer.  There's also genetics, exposure to pesticides or toxins, a person's own immune system, etc.  We can't control factors like genetics or our immune systems, but we CAN control whether or not we smoke. 

    There are also different factors that determine whether or not someone will become infected with COVID; and, once infected, whether or not they will get sick and how sick they will get. We can't control our genetics or our immune systems, but we CAN take measures to limit our exposure.  Another thing to keep in mind: NO method of protection is 100% effective all the time. Even in the operating room, with surgical precautions and sterile fields, some infections still get through.  But many more get through without ANY protection.

    Since COVID is a completely new virus, there has been a learning curve about how best to prevent infection and save lives.  That is why they have changed recommendations at times.  Please note that the learning curve is STILL ONGOING; and, with new data, there may be more changes in recommendations. This is normal in medicine, but the general public doesn't usually see it happening in real time like we have with COVID.  Based on current knowledge, masks and social distancing aren't perfect in protecting against COVID; but they are better than NOTHING.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Wed, 10/07/2020 02:13 pm

    You missed my point. Democratic mayors/governors have greenlighted BLM protests all over the country (where many protestors have not been following the latest guidelines) while simultaneously denying other outdoor acitivites to non-BLM events. They are hypocrites.

  • not silent
    Posted: Wed, 10/07/2020 09:14 pm

    For Big Jim, I believe I acknowledged the hypocrisy of the press in my comment; however, you are right in pointing out that there has been plenty of hypocrisy in political leaders.  I suspect you share my dismay about the general disregard for truth or objective reality in our society.    

    I was not trying to attack you, just to add some objective information to combat the misinformation that keeps popping up out there. Since I'm in the medical field and have known people who died of COVID, this issue is very personal for me.  For the record, I think EVERYONE shares equal responsibility for following reasonable precautions.   I can't help whether someone else isn't doing the right thing; it's up to ME to do MY part and do the right thing.