Both chambers of the Arizona state legislature have suspended their work for the week due to several Republican lawmakers having had prolonged exposure to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has recently tested positive for coronavirus.
Giuliani’s diagnosis was announced via tweet by Trump himself, who wrote over the weekend, using a racist term to refer to the virus, that the former New York City mayor had contracted COVID-19.
Because it’s unclear when he contracted it, it’s possible that Giuliani, who has made a number of public appearances over the past several days, may have spread the virus to others.
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Last week, Giuliani spent hours testifying before a number of Arizona Republican legislators in an event that was billed as a legislative “hearing,” but which, in reality, was not officially sanctioned by the Arizona legislature but was organized by Republicans at a hotel in Phoenix. A number of individuals spoke at the event, alleging without proof that the election results in Arizona, resulting in President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state, were fraudulent.
No evidence of fraud has been found in Arizona. Days after the election, Republican State Attorney General Mark Brnovich stated that there were “no facts that would lead anyone to believe that the election results will change” despite the (entirely unverified) claims of fraud made by Trump and his allies.
Biden legitimately won the state by a margin of more than 10,000 votes, according to the latest numbers from The Cook Political Report.
Nevertheless, Giuliani was present for 10 hours at the event that took place last week making myriad false claims of fraud, along with others who alleged as much. It’s possible that while in attendance, Giuliani may have already had coronavirus. It’s also possible he may have contracted the virus while at the proceedings.
If Giuliani did have COVID-19 at that time, there’s a good possibility the virus was spread to others, as many in attendance were not wearing masks. At one point during the ordeal, Giuliani, while questioning an individual who was less than six feet away from him, told that person to remove their mask before proceeding.
Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the event. Two Republican members of Congress — Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs — also took part in the proceedings. Now the Arizona legislature has canceled its remaining work for the week over concerns that those in attendance very likely have been exposed to coronavirus.
Arizona state Sen. Martín Quezada, a Democrat, harshly criticized his colleagues for their negligence, which may have caused harm to other members of the legislature and to the employees at the state Capitol.
“This is the epitome of #COVID19 irresponsibility by members of the #AZLeg @AZHouseGOP and @AZSenateGOP,” Quezada said, tagging the Republican accounts for both statehouses. “You owe it to the very people who work in the Capitol buildings to be better than this.”
The hearings held by Giuliani and Arizona Republicans did not adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the virus in public places. The CDC recommends, for example, that individuals wear masks when in public as a means to protect both the wearer and those around them from possibly contracting COVID-19.
While not 100 percent effective, there is ample evidence demonstrating that mask-wearing is a good way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The CDC itself cites several studies on its website that “have confirmed the benefit of universal masking in community level analyses.” Other studies have found that jurisdictions that implemented mandates in the early days of the pandemic in the U.S. saw a dramatic slowing down of the virus’s spread after doing so.