A congressman who is suing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) over recently reinstated rules on masking on the floor of the House of Representatives has contracted COVID-19.
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-South Carolina), who received a $500 fine in May for refusing to wear a facial covering on the House floor, alleges that masking rules in Congress were unnecessary and unconstitutional. Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) and Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) are co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
“The masking requirement was an attempt to prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, medicine, and science, despite a deep divide over these issues of opinion,” according to the lawmakers’ suit, adding that the masking rules were used by Pelosi and Democrats to force Republicans “to be instruments for fostering public adherence to this ideological point of view that Plaintiffs find unacceptable.”
On Thursday, Norman announced on social media that he had developed a breakthrough case of the virus, in spite of being vaccinated against COVID-19.
“After experiencing minor symptoms this morning, I sought a covid-19 test and was just informed the test results were positive. Thankfully, I have been fully vaccinated and my symptoms remain mild,” Norman wrote on Twitter.
One of the best ways to prevent the spreading of coronavirus is by getting vaccinated. But breakthrough cases can occur. When they do, they typically are less severe than cases in patients who have not been vaccinated.
New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that vaccinated people are still able to spread coronavirus if they get a breakthrough infection. However, a person who is vaccinated is less likely to contract COVID-19 in the first place. Masks remain a proactive means to prevent the spread of the virus and its variants.
Preventing the spread of coronavirus will require vaccinating a large portion of any given population, many health experts have long held.
Nearly half of Republicans in the House have refused to disclose if they’re vaccinated or not.
Late last month, Pelosi, responding to advice from The Office of the Attending Physician, reinstated mask rules for the House, angering many Republicans who claimed they were unnecessary. Pelosi also reinstated the penalties for those that don’t follow the new rules.
The Speaker justified the reinstatement of the rules because Republicans weren’t doing their part to stop the spread of the virus.
“The Republican party has been delinquent in embracing the science that people need to be vaccinated,” Pelosi said in a statement. “That’s why when we talk about the masking policy in the House, we always just follow the guidance of the Capitol physician.”
Norman’s situation — a lawmaker getting sick in spite of having been vaccinated — is perhaps indicative of why Congress still needs rules on masking, to add another layer of protection against the spread of coronavirus within its halls.